Thai Bev says F&N bids for Peroni, Grolsch beer brands

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai Beverage has used its Singapore listed unit Fraser and Neave to "bid without condition" to buy SABMiller's Peroni and Grolsch beer brands, the Thai firm's Chief Executive Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi said on Monday.

The bid was an attempt by the group to expand into premium brands that have strong market positions, Thapana told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar.

He gave no details about pricing.

The non-binding bid was an attempt by the group to expand into premium brands with strong market positions, Mr Thapana told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar. He gave no details about pricing.

His comments confirmed a Reuters report last Thursday that Thai Beverage was among bidders going through to the final stages of an auction to buy the two brands in a deal that could be worth up to 3 billion euros (S$4.6 billion).

Japan's Asahi Group Holdings, private equity firms PAI Partners and Bain Capital and European buyout fund EQT have also been shortlisted by the seller, Anheuser-Busch InBev, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

"This will be an opportunity for us to increase international brands into our portfolio," Mr Thapana said, adding F&N aimed to bring the two brands to sell in South-east Asia.

Thai Beverage, also known as ThaiBev, controlled by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Thailand's second-richest man, is aiming to expand into South-east Asian countries, especially Vietnam, Thapana said. Thai Bev, one of South-east Asia's largest drinks companies, took control of F&N in 2013.

The sale of the Peroni and Grolsch brands, which sources said AB InBev wants to wrap up by the beginning of March, is aimed at easing anti-trust approval for AB InBev's US$100 billion-plus takeover of SABMiller.