Heineken gulps Tiger after takeover nod
Fin24.com - Sep 28th 2012, 11:56
Singapore - Shareholders in the parent company of the Singapore-based brewer that makes Tiger Beer approved its takeover by Heineken Friday, increasing the Dutch giant's footprint in the growing Asian market.
The vote at Fraser and Neave (F&N) will see Heineken pay Sg$5.6bn ($4.6 billion) for its 40% stake in Asia-Pacific Breweries (APB), which also makes the popular Bintang beer.
Amsterdam-based Heineken, which is seeking to expand its sales in the region as demand falls in western markets, already held 42% of APB.
"I declare the resolution carried," F&N chairperson Lee Hsien Yang said after 98.73% of shareholders voted for the deal.
A Thai faction in F&N led by beverage billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi had earlier emerged as a potential rival to Heineken but eventually gave its approval to the sale of APB.
Before Friday's meeting in Singapore, Heineken bought an additional 8.6% in APB held by Thailand's Kindest Place Groups, also linked to Charoen, for $961m.
"Heineken are paying a pretty penny for APB, at about 35 times its current earnings, which is very high," Justin Harper, an analyst at IG Markets Singapore said.
"This shows how much it values APB and the brands it controls. Along with Tiger and Bintang, APB has an impressive 50% market share of beer sales in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore."
Heineken first announced its takeover bid for APB in July, when it offered to pay Sg$5.1bn for F&N's stake in the brewer, or Sg$50 a share.
However, it was forced to raise the offer to Sg$5.6bn in August after Thai Beverage and other companies linked to Charoen mounted a rival bid.
But on September 19, the Thai firms agreed to back Heineken's takeover, defusing a potential clash at Friday's meeting.
Analysts have said a stronger Asian presence is important for Heineken as demand wanes in Western Europe, its traditional market.
APB, which has breweries in 14 countries including China, reported in August that its revenues for the third quarter to June rose almost 10% to Sg$781.33m from a year ago.
Beer consumption in nine of the 10 Southeast Asian countries totalled 6.84 billion litres in 2011, up more than six percent from 2010, with Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines leading the market, according to data from research firm Euromonitor.
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