SINGAPORE Jan 29 Fraser and Neave Ltd's (F&N)
entire board of directors plans to resign after a
takeover offer by Thailand's third-richest man closes on Feb. 4,
they said ahead of a shareholders meeting on Tuesday.
Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, through his TCC
Assets Ltd and Thai Beverage PCL, has now amassed a
45.61 percent stake in the Singapore property and drinks
conglomerate. The offer will turn unconditional when the Thai
group owns more than 50 percent.
"The directors are committed to ensuring an orderly
transition to a new board," they said in a statement.
"Subject to and upon the revised TCC offer becoming or being
declared unconditional as to acceptances, the board will be
appointing three additional directors to the board, in
consultation with TCC Assets."
Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Singapore's prime minister
and chairman of F&N, oversaw a bidding war that led to Southeast
Asia's biggest takeover and ramped up shareholder value. The
deal values the 130-year-old group at around $11 billion.
Charoen, a beer and real estate baron, will be looking to
integrate and unlock the value of F&N's drinks business,
regional distribution networks and premier properties.
The impact of Lee's departure would be minimal as the senior
management is intact and the business carries on, a source close
to the transaction told Reuters late last week.
"Fraser is a very old brand, so the connections are all
there, the management are all there," said the source, speaking
on condition of anonymity. "The business is beyond one
Lee holds 180,000 F&N shares directly and bought them in
November 2007 at S$5.65 each, company filings show. At the
takeover price of S$9.55 per share, he will make a profit of
S$702,000 ($571,600) if he sells to the Thais.
TCC Assets and Thai Beverage declined to comment when asked
by Reuters over the weekend about the plans for F&N.
Lee, who was paid S$1.59 million last year, heads a
nine-member board that includes Hirotake Kobayashi, managing
director of Japanese food and drinks company Kirin Holdings Co
Ltd, which owns about 15 percent of F&N.
Other prominent F&N board members are Timothy Chia, the Asia
chairman of Coutts & Co Ltd, Tan Chong Meng, group chief
executive of PSA International, one of the world's largest port
operators, and Maria Mercedes Corrales, a former senior
executive at Starbucks Coffee Co and Levi Strauss & Co in Asia.
($1 = 1.2281 Singapore dollars)
(Writing by John O'Callaghan; Editing by Ryan Woo)