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ThaiBev said to be eyeing mega-listing of its regional beer assets in Singapore

Firm calls for trading halt after SGX query; confirms it's evaluating beer IPO

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Thai Beverage Public Co (ThaiBev) is "presently evaluating strategic proposals and opportunities, including but not limited to a potential listing of its beer business".

Singapore

THAI Beverage Public Co (ThaiBev) is "presently evaluating strategic proposals and opportunities, including but not limited to a potential listing of its beer business".

The company revealed this in its response on Friday to queries from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on a news report that an initial public offering for its brewery is being considered as well as "unusual volume movements" in its shares.

ThaiBev said in its written response: "However, discussions on such strategic projects are still at exploratory or early stages, and ThaiBev wishes to emphasise that there is no certainty or assurance that any such transactions will occur."

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The company requested for a trading halt on Friday afternoon, after media reports stated that the food and beverage giant is considering a public listing of its brewery business on the SGX.

ThaiBev is planning to list some of its regional beer assets in a deal that could raise US$2 billion to US$3 billion next year, according to a Reuters report.

An initial public offering (IPO) of over US$2 billion would make it the biggest in Singapore in about six years, while an issue of more than US$3 billion would rank as the largest since 2010, according to Refinitiv data.

The deal could include ThaiBev's beer assets in Thailand and Vietnam.

The company is working with Bank of America, Citigroup, DBS, HSBC and Morgan Stanley for the IPO with a potential mid-2020 listing date, according to sources from Reuters.

An earlier Bloomberg report had said the listing may value the new unit at as much as US$10 billion.

The IPO may be SGX's biggest since the 2011 listing of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which raised US$5.5 billion, added the report.

Meanwhile, ThaiBev was also queried by SGX on "unusual volume movements" in its shares on Friday morning. Its stock, which traded cum-dividend, had risen S$0.04 or 4.6 per cent to S$0.905 by the midday break.

When trading was halted, the counter was S$0.89, up 2.5 Singapore cents or 2.9 per cent.

Some 25.3 million shares changed hands, making it the second most heavily traded counter by volume on the Singapore bourse before its trading halt.

It is also a surge from the counter's trading volumes of 15.5 million shares on Thursday and 10.9 million on Wednesday.

The ThaiBev group along with two of its units - Fraser and Neave (F&N) and Frasers Property (FPL) - are listed on the SGX mainboard.

FPL sponsors Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust and Frasers Commercial Trust.

Both trusts have also called for trade halts on Thursday amid reports that they are merging.

If merged, the combined company will manage almost 100 properties worth US$4 billion across Singapore, Australia and Europe, including warehouses, offices and business parks, according to their websites.

ThaiBev had a week ago reported a full-year net profit increase of 29.7 per cent to 23.3 billion baht (S$1.1 billion) for fiscal 2019.

It attributed the stronger showing to its spirits business, F&N and FPL.

Year-on-year, net profit for the group's spirits business rose 12.9 per cent to 19.2 billion baht while net profit for F&N/FPL soared by 31 per cent to 3.9 billion baht.

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