More than 1 million F&N shares change hands in bloc trade

SINGAPORE Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:30pm EST

SINGAPORE Jan 18 (Reuters) - Over 1 million shares in Singapore's Fraser and Neave (F&N) exchanged hands in a bloc trade, equivalent to 0.1 percent of total issued stock, ahead of a deadline for two groups competing to take over the firm to raise their offers.

In early trade on Friday, 1.66 million F&N shares were traded in a transaction off the Singapore market at S$9.60, according to data from Thomson Reuters. It was not clear who the buyer and the seller were.

In November, a group led by Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd put in a bid of S$9.08 a share for F&N, which is above Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's offer of S$8.88 a share.

Both bids are below F&N's traded share price, with investors expecting either of the two parties to raise its offer for the Singapore property and beverage conglomerate.

Singapore's securities watchdog has set a Jan. 20 deadline for Charoen and the Overseas Union-led group to raise their offers. If the stalemate continues, an auction will be initiated.

As of 0347 GMT, F&N was up 0.5 percent at S$9.55. It has fallen 1.5 percent since the start of the year.

Charoen is F&N's largest shareholder with a 34 percent stake, held through Thai Beverage PCL and TCC Assets Ltd.

Kirin Holdings Co Ltd is F&N's second-biggest shareholder with a stake of around 14.8 percent. (Reporting by Charmian Kok; Editing by Ryan Woo)