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Kirin Confirms Tender of Fraser & Neave Stake

--Kirin Holdings to tender entire stake in Fraser & Neave for S$1.9B
--Kirin then aims to buy back F&N's food and beverage ops for S$2.7B
--Kirin shares fall in Friday trading on fears about additional M&A costs

TOKYO--Kirin Holdings Co. (>> Kirin Holdings Company, Limited.) confirmed Friday that it has decided to tender its entire 15% stake in Fraser & Neave Ltd. (F99.SG) to an offer by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. (LJ3.SG), which aims to take control of the Singaporean conglomerate.

The Japanese brewer and soft drink maker has decided to tender its stake for 1.9 billion Singapore dollars ($1.6 billion). Kirin then aims to buy back F&N's food and beverage operations for about S$2.7 billion.

It remains to be seen if the plan will be successful, given a pending offer by a Thai billionaire. But investors reacted cooly toward Kirin's additional spending plans for the deal.

Kirin shares were down 2.4% at Y967 midday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after falling 4.7% to as low as Y944.

On Thursday, OUE, a unit of Indonesia's Riady family, said it plans to buy shares in F&N for S$9.08 each, trumping a S$8.88 per share offer worth US$7.2 billion by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

Kirin said Friday the company "has agreed to accept the offer in respect of its shares in F&N, subject to certain conditions set out in OUE's announcement."

The move is in line with Kirin's main interest in food and beverage operations in Asia.

"We invested in Fraser & Neave because of our main interest in its food and beverage operations," Kirin President Senji Miyake has repeatedly said.

Kirin bought its 15% stake in F&N for about $970 million in 2010 as part of efforts to become a leading food and beverage company in Asia and Oceania. But questions on whether Kirin had any aspirations toward F&N had gone unanswered since earlier this year.

18 Nov. 2012

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