Business

Fraser and Neave adviser says Thai tycoon’s offer is ‘fair’

January 27, 2013

Stacks of F&N products are on display at its factory in Pulau Indah outside Kuala Lumpur in this December 4, 2012 file photo. — Reuters picStacks of F&N products are on display at its factory in Pulau Indah outside Kuala Lumpur in this December 4, 2012 file photo. — Reuters picSINGAPORE, Jan 27 — Fraser and Neave Ltd’s independent financial adviser JP Morgan said today Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s new offer of S$9.55 per share for the Singapore property and drinks conglomerate is “fair”.

Directors who hold F&N shares, including chairman Lee Hsien Yang, intend to accept Charoen’s revised offer, the company said in a statement.

Charoen is now set to take over F&N in Southeast Asia’s biggest-ever acquisition. He had declared his S$9.55-per-share offer, which values the Singapore company at around S$13.75 billion (RM33.9 billion), as final.

Thailand’s third-richest man raised his offer for F&N last week to S$9.55 a share, 7.5 per cent higher than his previous offer of S$8.88, to fend off a rival bid by a group led by Singapore-listed property firm Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd.

The Overseas Union group decided not to raise its S$9.08-per-share offer, saying such a move was no longer attractive after recent measures taken by the Singapore government to cool the city-state’s property market.

F&N shares have been trading at Charoen’s offer price of S$9.55 since the Overseas Union group bowed out of the two-month battle with the Thai tycoon, indicating that the market does not expect a new bidder to emerge.

Charoen currently has a 45.32 per cent stake in F&N, held through Thai Beverage PCL and TCC Assets Ltd. The company has property assets worth more than S$8 billion as well as soft drinks, dairy and publishing businesses.

Analysts say Charoen is likely to tap F&N’s network in Singapore and Malaysia to distribute Chang Beer, brewed by Thai Beverage, as well as spirits, energy drinks and instant coffee. In Thailand, where he already has an edge, Charoen may in turn market F&N’s brands. — Reuters 

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