Thai Beverage considers potential $3 billion beer IPO: sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's Thai Beverage TBEV.SI is planning to spin off some regional beer assets in an initial public offering (IPO) that could raise as much as $3 billion, sources close to the matter said.

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The Singapore-listed company has approached banks about a listing of a unit that could house its beer assets in Vietnam and Thailand, one of the sources said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Details of the proposed listing on the Singapore bourse have not been finalised, he added.

Responding to a query by the Singapore Exchange over unusual trading volumes for its shares, Thai Beverage said it was evaluating strategic proposals that included a potential listing of its beer business, among other options.

The company, which makes beers including Chang lager as well as spirits such as Mekhong rum, added that discussions are at “exploratory or early stages”, with no certainty that the transactions would proceed.

Thailand has been Southeast Asia’s biggest market for IPO fundraising this year, excluding the listing of real estate investment trusts (REITS), Refinitiv data shows, and analysts expect the pace to pick up further in 2020.

Thai Beverage is working with Bank of America BAC.N, Citigroup C.N, DBS DBSM.SI, HSBC HSBA.L and Morgan Stanley MS.N, two sources said, with one saying an IPO could occur around the middle of next year.

Trading in Thai Beverage shares was halted late in the afternoon pending an announcement after the stock climbed as much as 5.2% following a Bloomberg report on the potential IPO.

A Singapore IPO of a little more than $2 billion would make it the biggest in the city state in about six years, while an issue of more than $3 billion would rank as the largest since 2010, Refinitiv data shows.

Citigroup, HSBC and Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the banks’ participation in the deal. Bank of America and DBS did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Scott Murdoch; Additional reporting by Rashmi Ashok; Editing by David Evans and David Goodman