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ThaiBev Said to Pick Banks to Finance F&N Stake Purchase

ThaiBev last week agreed to pay S$2.78 billion ($2.2 billion) for a 22 percent stake in Fraser and Neave held by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and its partners. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
ThaiBev last week agreed to pay S$2.78 billion ($2.2 billion) for a 22 percent stake in Fraser and Neave held by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and its partners. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

July 23 (Bloomberg) -- Thai Beverage Pcl, Thailand’s biggest beer maker, is in talks with three banks to help provide financing for its purchase of a $2.2 billion stake in Fraser and Neave Ltd., said two people with knowledge of the matter.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.’s lending unit are working on a so-called bridge loan to support the transaction, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. A bridge facility is a short-term loan used until a company secures permanent financing.

Thai Beverage, controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s TCC Group and known as ThaiBev, last week agreed to pay S$2.78 billion ($2.2 billion) for a 22 percent stake in Fraser and Neave held by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and its partners.

Charoen’s son-in-law will spend S$920.2 million buying stakes in Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. from OCBC and its insurance unit Great Eastern Holdings Ltd., ThaiBev said on July 18. Fraser and Neave, Singapore’s biggest beverage maker, owns 40 percent of Asia Pacific Breweries.

ThaiBev would finance the entire transaction through the loan, said one of the people. The company had $108 million of cash and near-cash items as of March 31, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Terence Foo, a Singapore-based spokesman for ThaiBev at public relations firm Kreab Gavin Anderson, declined to comment on the financing.

Shares of ThaiBev fell 2.7 percent to 35.5 Singapore cents at 2.06 p.m. today. Asia Pacific Breweries jumped as much as 18 percent to S$49.50 before trading at S$48.70, while Fraser and Neave gained 4.5 percent to S$7.93.

Heineken NV, the world’s third-largest brewer, last week offered $6 billion to acquire full control of Asia Pacific Breweries.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net; Katrina Nicholas in Singapore at knicholas2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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