Frasers Centrepoint poised to make $3 billion bid for Australian developer

SINGAPORE developer Frasers Centrepoint (FCL) is poised to make a A$2.6 billion (S$3.02 billion) bid for Sydney-listed Australand Property Group - looking to snatch the prize from under the nose of another bidder.

FCL, controlled by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has submitted a proposal to buy all of Australand for A$4.48 per stapled security.

But it is still a proposal at this stage; FCL will first conduct due diligence on its takeover target, before officially tabling an offer.

FCL will come up against Australian developer Stockland, Australand's top shareholder which has launched a all-share bid valued at about A$4.43 per unit.

The Singapore company already has had a boost.

Australand's directors plan to recommend FCL's offer - if it materialises - in the absence of a superior proposal and if an independent expert says FCL's deal is fair and reasonable.

In fact, Australand has now stopped Stockland's on-going due diligence process and given FCL an exclusive period of four weeks to pore through its books

"The board concluded that the (FCL) conditional proposal would deliver a compelling value outcome for Australand securityholders and is superior to the final and conditional proposal received from Stockland," Bloomberg quoted Australand chairman Paul Isherwood as saying in a statement.

The advantage is good news for FCL. Its chief executive Lim Ee Seng said in a statement that "the proposal will catapult FCL to being one of Australia's leading real estate companies with a portfolio of scale and quality".

He said Australia is a core market for FCL. "The group chose to enter the Australian market over a decade ago due to favourable fundamentals including its transparent regulatory environment, strong corporate governance, as well as its deep and mature property market."