UPDATE 1-Tiger beer brewer APB posts 36 pct rise in Q3 profit
(Adds F&N's result, background)
SINGAPORE Aug 10 (Reuters) - Tiger beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd, which Dutch brewer Heineken is trying to take over, posted on Friday a 36 percent rise in quarterly net profit as sales rose in Indochina and Southeast Asia.
APB earned S$91.1 million ($73.24 million) before exceptional items in the fiscal third quarter ended June, up from S$67.0 million a year ago. Its net profit was, however, down 12 percent year-on-year when a one-off gain from asset sales in 2011 was taken into account.
Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and his companies, which include Thai Beverage PCL, are vying with Heineken for a bigger stake in APB due to its exposure to fast-growing markets in Southeast Asia.
Underlining the attractiveness of those markets, APB said overall volume in Indochina and Thailand grew 12 percent, led by strong double-digit growth in Vietnam and Thailand.
South and Southeast Asia, excluding Thailand, delivered volume growth of 5 percent, led mainly by double-digit growth in Indonesia and export markets.
In a separate announcement, Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N), which controls about 40 percent of APB, reported a 2.1 percent increase in third-quarter net profit before fair value adjustment and exceptional items to S$136 million.
Higher earnings from breweries and dairies helped offset lower profit from property development and a loss from its printing and publishing arms, the Singapore conglomerate said.
F&N shares rose as much as 2 percent on Friday to a record after a large block trade stoked speculation that Charoen may be raising his stake in F&N as a means of gaining greater control of APB.
Heineken wants to take full control of the maker of Tiger beer, and last week F&N agreed to sell its 40 percent stake in APB to the Dutch brewer in a $4.1 billion deal. But there are questions over whether F&N's two largest shareholders - ThaiBev and Japan's Kirin Holdings Co Ltd - would support the S$50.00 a share offer, which was agreed by F&N's board but still needs shareholder approval.
"ThaiBev may have bought a chunk of shares from some other party so they'll have more say in the decisions," said a Singapore trader, a view echoed by other brokers.
F&N and APB did not provide any further information about the ongoing takeover battle for APB in their results statements.
($1 = 1.2439 Singapore dollars) (Editing by Kevin Lim and Alex Richardson)
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