F&N agrees not to prevent Heineken from entering Singapore's soft drink market

PHOTO: F&N agrees not to prevent Heineken from entering Singapore's soft drink market

SINGAPORE - Fraser & Neave Limited (F&N) announced on Monday it has voluntarily agreed not to enforce a soft-drinks non-compete clause that was part of a share purchase agreement between itself and Heineken in November 2012.

Ties between Heineken and Singapore's Fraser and Neave (F&N) go back to 1931, when the two companies had run local brewer Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) as a joint venture since that year. But in July 2012, Heineken moved to take over all of APB, after parties linked to Thai Beverage founder Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi bought stakes in F&N and APB.

The non-compete clause, which restricts Heineken from making, distributing and selling soft drinks for a period of two years in Singapore, was due to expire on Nov 14, 2014.

Earlier in January this year, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) launched an investigation into this clause. With F&N's agreement, CCS issued a media statement to say it has stopped investigations into the matter, but will continue to "closely monitor market practices in the local soft drinks market."

The media statements by both F&N and CCS also said the former's voluntary undertaking was not an admission of liability by F&N.

F&N also added that in providing the voluntary undertaking to the CCS, it was not aware of any plans by Heineken to carry out any soft drinks business activities in Singapore. It also noted that time and resources it would have to expend in further dicussions with CCS, and the fact that the clause will expire in about a year's time.