ThaiBev nears Singapore IPO filing for US$10bil unit

BANGKOK: Thai Beverage Pcl is planning to lodge a filing to list its brewery unit on the Singapore stock exchange as soon as this week, people familiar with the matter said, paving the way for what could be the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in the city-state in a decade.

The drinks maker plans to seek a valuation of about US$10bil for the unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. A listing in the South-East Asian nation could happen as soon as the second quarter, one of the people said.

ThaiBev is working with its appointed advisers toward a possible listing, the company said Thursday in a statement to the Singapore exchange. There is no assurance that any listing will occur, and details remain subject to finalisation, the company wrote.

Shares in ThaiBev rose on Thursday after the Bloomberg News report, closing up 2.5% and reaching their highest level since February last year.

ThaiBev, controlled by Thailand’s richest man, in 2019 confirmed the company is weighing an IPO of the brewing unit after Bloomberg News reported the listing plan. The firm at that time didn’t provide details such as valuation and listing venue.

The IPO could be the Singapore bourse’s biggest since Hutchison Port Holdings Trust raised US$5.5bil in 2011. It would also give a boost to first-time share sales in the republic, where IPO volumes plunged to US$915mil last year, the least since 2015, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

ThaiBev is best known for producing Chang, a lager whose green bottles are adorned with an image of two elephants. It also brews Archa beer and the German-inspired Federbrau brand. In 2017, ThaiBev’s Vietnamese affiliate bought a controlling stake in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp, the country’s largest brewer, for about US$4.8bil.

Apart from the brewery business, ThaiBev runs distilleries that produce liquor including SangSom rum, Meridian brandy and Drummer whisky. It owns about 28% of Singapore’s Fraser & Neave Ltd, which sells 100Plus soft drinks and Magnolia dairy products, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The group is controlled by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who is Thailand’s richest person with a net worth of about US$16.6bil. ─ Bloomberg

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