Thai Beverage Gets $2.3 Billion Loan to Fund F&N Stake Purchase

Thai Beverage Gets $2.3 Billion Loan to Fund F&N Stake Purchase
A worker cycles past beer crates at a Thai Beverage Plc Chang brewery in Kamphaeng Phet, north of Bangkok. Photographer: Udo Weitz/Bloomberg

Thai Beverage Pcl, the Southeast Asian nation’s biggest brewer, won a S$2.8 billion ($2.25 billion) loan facility from global banks to finance its proposed purchase of a 22 percent stake in Fraser and Neave Ltd.

The company known as ThaiBev and wholly owned subsidiary International Beverage Holdings Ltd. entered into a loan facility agreement with HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., according to a statement posted to the Singapore stock exchange today.

Billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s ThaiBev last month agreed to pay Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and its partners S$2.78 billion for their shares in Fraser and Neave, which owns 40 percent of Asia Pacific Breweries, the maker of Tiger beer. Heineken NV, the world’s third-biggest brewer, is seeking control of Singapore-based APB to protect its hold over a key emerging-market asset.

F&N’s board of directors recommended Heineken NV’s offer of S$50 a share for its 40 percent stake in APB to shareholders, the Amsterdam-based company said in a statement yesterday. Heineken already owns 42 percent and said July 20 that it would offer as much as S$7.5 billion for the rest.

Brewing assets in high-growth economies are in short supply after a decade of consolidation in the industry. Besides Singapore’s Tiger, APB has rights to brands including Bintang in Indonesia, Anchor in China, Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, and Heineken from China to New Zealand.

Heineken, which accounts for about 8.8 percent of the global beer market, has the smallest emerging-markets presence of the world’s big three brewers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. About 37 percent of its operating income last year came from western Europe, where competition, economic turmoil and high per-capita beer consumption hold back growth.

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