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Thai Beverage raises funds for expansion

By Dominique Patton , 26-May-2006

Thailand's brewer of Chang beer, Thai Beverage, raised S$1.37 billion (EUR677m) on Wednesday in an initial public offering in Singapore, designed to help fund its expansion overseas.

The 4.89 billion shares sold went for 28 Singapore cents each, 8 cents lower than the maximum price that it sought. Analysts say the sale was hurt by recent turmoil on Asian markets.

The IPO was still the Singapore Exchange's third biggest IPO and came after the company was prevented from listing in its home market by anti-alcohol protestors who said a share sale would encourage greater consumption of alcohol by the largely Buddhist population.

The company's shares will start trading on the Singapore Exchange on 30 May.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to service company debts worth BT23.6 billion and also reserved as working capital to fund overseas expansion.

"Listing our stock in Singapore is to enlarge the overseas market, which is possible through alliances. It is necessary to have the same standard as the prospective alliance partners, almost all of whom are listed companies. We aim to become the biggest brewer in the Asean region over the next five years," the company's senior vice president Ueychai Tantha-Obhas told The Nation newspaper.

Thai Beverage reported a net profit of BT10.49 billion in 2005, up 1.9 per cent from a year earlier, while revenue rose 2.2 per cent to BT92.09 billion.

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