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Thai tycoon Charoen has firm grip on F&N
Publication Date : 16-02-2013
Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi has taken full control of Singapore's Fraser & Neave (F&N), with a holding amounting to more than 80 per cent of F&N's shares.
As of Thursday, the total number of F&N shares owned, controlled or whose purchase had been agreed by Charoen's group - TCC Assets and Thai Beverage - amounted to an aggregate of 1.19 billion, representing an approximately 82.59-per-cent stake, according to a filing to Singapore Exchange.
In another filing, F&N also announced that Hirotake Kobayashi, a director of F&N representing Kirin Holdings, had tendered his resignation following Kirin’s sale of its shares in the company to Charoen.
A source from Thai Beverage recently said that the group was preparing to hold a press conference to unveil its plan for the Singaporean food, beverage and property giant. It is expected that Charoen's business in Thailand will benefit tremendously from F&N's logistics network. The Singaporean company has a presence in over 20 countries in Asia-Pacific. In Thailand, ThaiBev sells a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage products.
F&N is the jewel that Charoen has fought fiercely for over the past six months, since ThaiBev secretly became a major shareholder in July. He recently thwarted a bid for F&N by Overseas United Enterprise, controlled by an Indonesian family.
In a statement issued earlier this month, F&N's management referred to Charoen's efforts to acquire the stake as "a new era for the F&N Group in its 130th year of operation".
Proof of Charoen's far-sightedness can be seen in F&N's financial performance. The firm posted first-quarter revenue of S$913 million (US$748 million), which was attributed to improved performance in its food-and-beverage and property businesses.
Revenue for the quarter ending December 31 showed a 17-per-cent increase over the same period a year earlier. Net profit from the food-and-beverage business grew 47 per cent to S$49 million. In the quarter, the group saw the completion of the disposal of its entire interest in Asia Pacific Breweries for S$5.6 billion. The group realised a disposal gain of S$4.8 billion, pushing its profit after taxation to S$4.9 billion.