Singapore's F&N says OUE's offer 'not compelling'

SINGAPORE Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:11am EST

SINGAPORE Dec 19 (Reuters) - Singapore's Fraser and Neave said on Wednesday that its independent financial adviser has assessed that a S$13.1 billion ($10.8 billion) takeover offer from a group led by Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) is "not compelling, but fair".

The view was expected after shares of F&N, which is at the centre of a bidding war between firms owned by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and Indonesian businessman Stephen Riady, have traded above the takeover bids by the two groups.

"It is our opinion that ... the OUE offer price is not compelling but fair, from a financial point of view," JPMorgan , independent financial adviser, said in a letter to F&N's board.

OUE launched a counter offer for F&N last month at S$9.08 a share, above Charoen-owned TCC Assets Ltd's bid of S$8.88 a share.

Shares in F&N have consistently traded above the two bids, edging up 0.1 percent to S$9.66 at the close of trade on Wednesday.

Charoen tried and failed to acquire an additional stake of 10 percent in F&N on Friday from institutional investors at S$9.60, sources with direct knowledge of the situation had earlier told Reuters.

His related firms, Thai Beverage PCL and TCC Assets Ltd, own a combined 34 percent of F&N.

Charoen would need to increase his stake in F&N to more than 50 percent by next month otherwise his takeover bid for the 129-year-old group will expire. OUE's offer expires on Jan 3. ($1 = 1.2174 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Greg Mahlich)