Charoen eyes S$640m S’pore IPO for F&N REIT

Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is looking to raise at least US$500 million (S$639.9 million) by listing a hospitality trust in Singapore next year to help refinance some of the debt that his companies took on to win control of Fraser and Neave (F&N) in January, people with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

The listing would also mark the first step towards the merging of F&N’s assets and Mr Charoen’s business empire after the he won control of the Singaporean drinks-and-property conglomerate in a S$14 billion deal.

The real estate investment trust would hold service residences owned by F&N and hotels held by the Thai beer baron’s TCC Assets, such as the InterContinental Hotel in Bugis Junction. F&N’s hospitality unit owns service residences in major European cities, the Middle East, North and South-east Asia and Australia, while Mr Charoen’s TCC owns hotels in Asia, Europe and North America.

Mr Charoen controls F&N through TCC and Thai Beverage. Two sources said that while the exact size of the IPO has not been decided, they expect it would raise at least US$500 million and be conducted in the first half of next year.

“They really have very good assets within F&N and TCC. The size would really depend on the portfolio and on what they want to inject into the REIT,” said one of the sources involved in the deal. The sources declined to be identified because the details of the REIT are confidential.

F&N said last week it had received proposals from investment banks related to a hospitality REIT, but added that no decision had been made. It declined to comment on the size of the deal or the banks that they had been talking to.

Source : Today – 27 Aug 2013

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