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November 21, 2008

Thai brewer delays listing plan
Thai Beverage Plc, Thailand's largest brewer and distiller which is listed on the Singapore bourse, has postponed its plan to list in Bangkok due to poor market sentiment, Reuters quoted a financial adviser as saying Thursday.

"Investors are still interested in the stock, but the current cimcumstances are not conducive for the listing," Suvit Mapaisarnsin, chief executive of Phatra Plc, one of the two financial advisers for Thai Beverage, told Reuters.

"We confirm we will list the stock on the Thai bourse, but I can't tell you about the new timing," he said.

Thai Beverage said last month it planned to sell 80 million existing shares to investors in Thailand as part of plans to list in Thailand.

The shares, accounting for 0.3 percent of the total, will be sold by Siriwana Co Ltd, an investment arm of liquor tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who founded and controls Thai Beverage.

The Bangkok listing bid, which would make Thai Beverage the second Thai firm to have a dual listing in Singapore and Thailand after Total Access Communication , faced a new round of protest by an anti-alcohol campaign.

About 10,000 Buddhist monks and religious activists, whose protests prompted the firm to scrap a previous Thai listing plan and list instead on the Singapore bourse in 2006, rallied in front of the Thai bourse on Thursday, causing hours of traffic chaos.

The demonstrators, many of them orange-clad monks waving anti-alcohol placards, dispersed after a senior official at the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) told them of the firm's decision to postpone the listing.

"I've been informed by Thai Beverage's financial adviser that they haven't been able to set an IPO price range because their client is worried about the current political and economic situation," SET's Vichate Tantiwanich told the crowd.

Only last month, Thai Beverage, maker of market leaders Beer Chang and Mekhong whisky, shrugged off the bearish sentiment in the Thai market, spooked by the global financial crisis and domestic political stability, and said it expected no opposition.

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