Thai Beverage revives plan for $2 bln Singapore IPO of regional beer assets -sources

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Thai Beverage PCL has revived plans to list regional beer assets through a Singapore initial public offering (IPO) that could raise about $2 billion, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Singapore-listed firm, one of Southeast Asia’s largest drinks makers, is preparing to list as early as the first half of 2021 but it could spill into the second, the people said.

A $2 billion listing, though lower than a previously estimated $3 billion issue, would still be the largest deal in the city-state in more than eight years, Refinitiv data showed.

The listed entity is likely to house Thai Beverage’s beer assets in its main markets of Thailand and Vietnam, said the people, who declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Thai Beverage, controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, did not respond to a request for comment.

The drinks maker, which sells beers including Chang lager as well as spirits such as Mekhong rum, initially targeted a mid-2020 listing but shelved the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic as countries imposed restrictions on movement.

In May it said it would revisit the plan when the global economic outlook improves. Bringing it back now signals confidence that the restrictions, which impact beer consumption, will start to ease as vaccination campaigns spread regionally.

The deal includes Vietnamese brewer Sabeco, bought for nearly $5 billion in 2017, and which Thai Beverage in December 2019 said it had no intention of selling outright.

In June, Sabeco said business was beginning to regain momentum after sales slowed down during the pandemic and following tough new drink-driving laws.

The last major IPO among Thai Beverage’s peers was that of Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd which raised $5 billion in Hong Kong in September 2019. Its shares have fallen 10% since the listing.

Singapore’s IPO market has been dominated by real estate investment and business trusts, driven by yield-hungry retail investors. Still, the city-state has not seen any blockbuster listings outside that sector. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Scott Murdoch; Additional reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng in Bangkok; Editing by Christopher Cushing)