July 16, 2012 / 2:48 PM / in 5 years

OCBC receives bids for stakes in F&N, beer firm APB

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - OCBC (OCBC.SI), Singapore’s second-biggest bank, and its insurance unit have received a bid for their combined 18.2 percent stake in the beverages-to-beer firm Fraser and Neave (F&N) (FRNM.SI).

The stake has a market value of about $1.6 billion.

The bidder, which was not named, has also offered to buy a 7.92 percent stake in Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd APBB.SI owned by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and insurer Great Eastern Holdings (GEH) (GELA.SI), the Singapore lender said.

The bid comes two years after Kirin Holdings Co (2503.T) , Japan’s largest brewer, paid $984 million for Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte’s 14.7 percent stake in F&N, which currently has a market capitalization of about $8.7 billion.

A highly competitive and shrinking home market has forced Kirin and rival Asahi Group Holdings to look abroad for profit growth, though recently they have homed in on relatively small firms amid a lack of big targets.

OCBC and its unit said they are holding talks with the bidder, but cautioned there is no guarantee of a deal.

“Shareholders of OCBC Bank and GEH are advised that there is no certainty that any transaction or agreements will be entered into pursuant to the discussions,” it said.

F&N and Heineken N.V. (HEIN.AS) are key shareholders of Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), a company synonymous with Tiger beer which is brewed in 10 countries and offered in 60 markets worldwide.

APB also represents Heineken in nine markets namely Singapore, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, according to its website.

Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by David Cowell

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