PepsiCo group buys 50% of Thai bottler Serm Suk

PepsiCo group buys 50% of Thai bottler Serm Suk

Bangkok: PepsiCo Inc and a Thai affiliate have taken control of Thai bottler Serm Suk Pcl in an expansion drive in Asia’s third-largest bottled beverage market after China and India.

The maker of Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist and Tropicana juice, and its partner Strategic Beverages (Thailand) Co Ltd, now own 50.1% of Serm Suk after buying 658 million baht ($20 million) in a tender offer launched 30 April.

They bought 22.7 million shares, or 8.54%, at 29 baht ($0.89) each, Strategic Beverages said in a statement.

PepsiCo and its partner had already owned 41.54% of Serm Suk with the rest held by Thai investors. The tender offer period ends on 10 June.

Strategic Beverages said its 29 baht offer was near a 10-year high in the stock, but the price was 26-30% below the 39.3-41.9 baht fair value estimated by an independent financial adviser, according to a filing by Serm Suk to the stock exchange.

Strategic Beverages, a joint venture between PepsiCo and senior Thai management of Pepsi-Cola (Thai) Trading, has offered to buy all of remaining 155.44 million shares, or 58.46% of Serm Suk in a deal that could shake up and intensify the local beverage market.

The value of the Thai beverage market is estimated at 35 billion baht ($1.1 billion), Asia’s third largest, industry data showed.

Serm Suk stock, valued at $284 million on the Thai bourse, surged 123% in the last three months on expectation that PepsiCo might raise the offer price after the adviser estimated Serm Suk’s fair value of 39 baht.

On Monday, Serm Suk shares plunged 9.35% to 31.50 baht, while the overall Thai stock market was 1.5% lower.