UPDATE 1-Kirin stake sale gives Thai group nearly 69 pct F&N stake

Fri Feb 1, 2013 2:51am EST

(Adds company comments)

TOKYO Feb 1 (Reuters) - Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings Co Ltd said on Friday it plans to sell its entire holdings in Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N) to TCC Assets Ltd, giving the group led by Thailand's third-richest man nearly 69 percent of the Singapore drinks and real estate group.

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who already owns a 54 percent stake in F&N via controlling TCC and Thai Beverage PCL , is set to take over the Singapore conglomerate after winning a two-month bidding war with an Indonesian group.

"With the recent major change in F&N's ownership structure, weighed heavily to TCC, Kirin has determined that it would be difficult to implement its integrated beverages strategy in Southeast Asia with F&N as Kirin's core partner, and accordingly has decided to sell Kirin's shares in F&N," it said in a statement.

The maker of Ichiban Shibori beer and the Japanese distributor of Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser and Heineken also said it will pursue growth via its existing assets in Thailand and Vietnam, while seeking new opportunities with other partners.

Kirin expects to receive a pretax profit of about 47 billion yen ($515 million) from the deal. A company spokeswoman said the firm has not decided how it will use the money. ($1 = 91.2600 Japanese yen) (Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Ken Wills)

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