Frasers Centrepoint agrees to buy Australand for $2.46 billion

SINGAPORE Tue Jul 1, 2014 6:23am EDT

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's Frasers Centrepoint Ltd (FCL) (FRCT.SI), a company backed by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has reached a deal to buy Australia's Australand Property Group ALZ.AX for about A$2.6 billion ($2.46 billion).

Analysts say the deal will help boost FCL's recurring income base and diversify risk from the Singapore residential market, which has been hit by a raft of government cooling measures.

It is also a sign of Charoen's growing appetite for acquisitions outside Thailand after he took over conglomerate Fraser and Neave (FRNM.SI) in an $11 billion deal last year.

"I believe the FCL-Australand deal makes sense strategically, with benefits of building recurring income and scale in its core market Australia," said Tan Xuan, analyst at CIMB Securities Ltd in Singapore.

FCL last month entered the bidding race for the Australian firm, trumping the A$2.5 billon offer from Stockland Corp Ltd (SGP.AX), which is currently the biggest shareholder of Australand with a 15.7 percent stake.

Australand said a statement on Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with FCL under which the Singapore firm's wholly-owned subsidiary will make an offer to buy Australand's stapled securities for A$4.48 each.

The deal has to be approved by at least half of Australand's shareholders and Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.

Australand directors have unanimously recommended FCL's offer.

FCL was spun off from F&N and listed in Singapore in January and this month a hospitality trust backed by Charoen's real estate units is raising nearly $300 million in a Singapore initial public offering.

The Singapore firm is 59 percent owned by Charoen's investment company TCC Assets Ltd and 29 percent owned by his Thai Beverage PCL (TBEV.SI).

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L) are the financial advisers to FCL.

Australand was being advised by Fort Street Advisers, Macquarie Capital and King & Wood Mallesons.

(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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