Charoen has firm grip on F&N with 82.59 per cent stake

PHOTO: Charoen has firm grip on F&N with 82.59 per cent stake

BANGKOK - 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 S$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 (about Bt22 billion), 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 $4.8 billion, pushing its profit after taxation to S$4.9 billion.