ThaiBev defers potential spin-off and listing of BeerCo subsidiary on SGX

ThaiBev said that the conditions were not conducive for the proposed spin-off listing. PHOTO: THAIBEV

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Thai Beverage Public Co (ThaiBev) said it will defer the proposed spin-off and listing of its subsidiary BeerCo on the Singapore Exchange "in view of the current uncertain market conditions and volatile outlook, aggravated by the worsening Covid-19 pandemic in Thailand and other countries".

In an exchange filing on Friday (April 16) evening, the beer and liquor giant said that the conditions were not conducive for the proposed spin-off listing and it had decided to defer the listing "for the time being", having consulted with its financial advisers.

"ThaiBev continues to believe that BeerCo's position as one of the leading beer players in South-east Asia and its growth potential offer a distinct and compelling growth story," it said.

"ThaiBev will closely monitor the market conditions, evaluate and explore opportunities to maximise shareholders' value. The proposed spin-off listing will be reviewed at the appropriate time."

In February, ThaiBev said it was looking to spin off and list brewery unit BeerCo, and had received a no-objection letter from SGX for the listing of around 20 per cent of it.

The indirect wholly-owned subsidiary has three breweries in Thailand as well as an interest in a network of 26 breweries in Vietnam. Its business includes the production, distribution and sales of beer, including the Chang and Bia Saigon brands.

ThaiBev said in February that BeerCo had posted a net profit of S$77.4 million for the first quarter ended Dec 31, 2020. This represented a 72.4 per cent increase from S$44.9 million in the previous year, and comes despite lower sales revenue of S$1.32 billion - down 11.4 per cent from S$1.49 billion a year ago.

ThaiBev had said it sees "significant growth potential" in its beer business. It added that the business could be better developed with a dedicated board of directors and management team, and with direct access to debt and equity capital markets as a separately-listed entity.

Meanwhile, ThaiBev could use part of the proceeds generated from BeerCo's IPO to reduce debt and strengthen its financial position to invest in future business expansion plans.

Earlier this month, ThaiBev said that SGX had issued its conditional eligibility-to-list letter for the potential listing of the brewery unit on the SGX mainboard.

ThaiBev shares fell 0.7 per cent or 0.5 Singapore cent on Friday to close at 74.5 cents, before the announcement.

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