8 March 2013 – [UPDATED]– Plans for the future of Frasers Property Australia, joint venture developer of one of Australia’s most ambitious sustainable projects at Broadway in Sydney are in play following the recent dramatic takeover and privatisation of parent company Frasers & Neave by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.
Mr Charoen bought the Singapore Stock Exchange-listed Frasers & Neave in a series of moves that value the drinks and property conglomerate at more than US$11 billion.
- 15 March 2013 – Industry sources suggest Mr Charoen will seek to keep Frasers & Neave listed by selling enough shares to remain below the threshold for automatic privatisation.
A spokeswoman for Frasers Property Australia said the new owners of the parent company had requested that the local arm refrain from making general comments “for the time being”.
However, she said plans for an early announcement of City of Sydney’s first Environmental Upgrade Agreement and trigeneration district energy system at Central Park on Broadway remain on track.
EUAs are a finance mechanism for environmental upgrades that tie repayments to levies on council rates.
- See our ebook on EUAs
The Frasers/Seukisui House Central Park joint venture project has been closely watched in sustainability circles, not only for its goals to achieve high environmental standards overall, but for its preparedness to enter the EUA and trigen fields as pioneers.
Trigeneration in particular has been subject to a storm of controversy, with divergent industry views about whether a major city-wide system can work effectively for all levels of property, or whether a series of smaller insertions, such as Frasers’ Broadway site and at Green Square, a new town centre under development, will work best.
As well as Central Park, the company has also developed the Lumiere high rise apartment tower in Sydney, the Camperdown Children’s Hospital redevelopment and it owns a 4.9 hectare site on the Parramatta River, west of Sydney.
The takeover battle for Frasers & Neave, which started in July last year, has been dubbed one of the biggest takeover battles in Southeast Asia to date.
In September, Mr Charoen, already with a stake in the company, through TCC Assets, offered to buy the remaining shares of Fraser & Neave for S$8.88 a share, an offer the Fraser & Neave board turned down as not “compelling”, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Indonesia’s Riady family in November also had a tilt at the company, through its Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd in association with Japanese beverage company Kirin Holdings Co Ltd, which was then Frasers & Neave’s second biggest shareholder, bidding $10.6 billion to acquire all of Fraser & Neave.
That offer was rejected, with Kirin agreeing to buy Fraser & Neave’s food and beverage business if Overseas Union’s offer was successful.
“Both bidders extended their offers for months, prompting Singapore’s Securities Industry Council to step in [in February] and direct both parties to come up with revised offers or face an auction,” the WSJ report said.
Mr Charoen’s revised offer of S$9.55 a share valued the company at US$11.2 billion, prompting OUE to drop out.
Mr Charoen has an interests include Chang beer, soft drinks and properties such as Centerpoint mall in Singapore and residential properties in Southeast Asia and the UK.
Kirin ended up selling its stake in Frasers & Neave for profits for “a cool few billion”.