Thai billionaire seeks to raise ownership in Vinamilk to 21%

A woman shops for Vinamilk products. Photo from the company's website.

F&N Dairy Investments, a part of Fraser & Neave Limited, has registered to purchase additional shares of Vietnam’s largest dairy producer Vinamilk to lift its ownership to 18.31 per cent.

F&N Dairy Investments is wholly owned by Fraser & Neave controlled by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. Through its two subsidiaries, Fraser & Neave currently owns about 20 per cent of Vinamilk. If successful, the proposed transaction will push its ownership to 21 per cent.

According to a disclosure to the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE), F&N Dairy Investments has registered to buy 14.5 million additional VNM shares. It currently holds a 17.31 per cent stake in the Vietnamese firm.

F&N Dairy Investments had previously failed to buy the additional shares between June 6 and July 5 due to unfavourable market conditions. The firm is expected to shell out over VND2.3 trillion ($101.2 million) to increase its stake in Vinamilk.

The transaction is expected to take place between July 11 and August 9 through negotiation and order matching in the open market.

Singapore-listed automotive group Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited (JC&C), a Jardine Matheson company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Platinum Victory Pte Ltd had recently registered to acquire an additional 14.51 million shares in Vinamilk to increase its stake in the Vietnamese firm to over 11 per cent.

Jardine had last year acquired a total of 5.53 per cent stake in Vinamilk, through two back-to-back transactions, for an aggregate investment of $616.6 million. It had earlier picked up 3.33 per cent stake in Vinamilk in its equity auction in November 2017.

F&N Dairy Investments is the second largest shareholder in Vinamilk, followed by Jardine Matheson. The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), which holds 36.01 per cent of chartered capital, is the largest shareholder of the dairy firm.

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