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Charoen puts youngest son on F&N board

Apr 03. 2013
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Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the liquor tycoon and chairman of Thai Beverage (ThaiBev), yesterday appointed his son Panote Sirivadhanabhakdi as a member of the board executive committee at recently acquired Fraser and Neave, according to the latter's filin

Charoen became chairman of F&N after his 13.8-billion-Singapore-dollar (Bt327 billion) takeover of the 130-year-old property and beverage company in February.

Panote, 35, is the youngest son of Charoen and Khunying Wanna Sirivadhanabhakdi, the owners and top executives of TCC Group. He is a director of ThaiBev, which is also a listed company in the SGX, and in charge of new business development at Thailand’s leading beverage firm.

Panote was approached by TCC Assets, which has a 61.7-per-cent stake in F&N, to be a director of F&N.

Another two executives – Weerawong Chittmittrapap and Koh Poh Tiong – have also been appointed by Charoen to become board members at the diversified Singaporean company.

The appointments of Panote, Weerawong and Koh were made to replace former board chairman Lee Hsien Yang and other independent directors, including Timothy Chia, Maria Corrales and Tan Chong Meng, who resigned from the F&N board with effect from February 27.

The total number of F&N shares owned by Charoen’s group – TCC Assets and Thai Beverage – amounts to 1.19 billion, representing an approximate 82.59-per-cent stake, as of February 14.

Weerawong, 54, is a director at many listed companies in Thailand, including GMM Grammy, Berli Jucker, Minor International, and Thai Airways International, and also spokesman of the Independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

His wide directorial experience will bring a regional commercial outlook to F&N board deliberations, the company said, adding that after his appointment, Weerawong would be appointed a member of the company’s risk management committee.

F&N yesterday announced the appointment of Koh as adviser to the board with immediate effect. This follows the company’s announcement of Koh’s appointment as a non-executive and non-independent director of F&N, and as chairman of its food and beverage board committee and deputy chairman of the board executive committee.

Currently non-executive chairman and senior adviser of SGX main-board-listed Ezra Holdings, an integrated offshore oil and gas support solutions provider, Koh will advise the F&N Group and its board of directors on the group’s strategy and direction.

He joined Ezra after retiring as chief executive officer of F&N’s food and beverage division in September 2011 and, before that, was CEO of Asia Pacific Breweries from 1993 to 2008.

Koh also holds directorships in companies such as The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company, PSA Corp and Raffles Medical Group.

“We are privileged to have Koh’s services as director and adviser to the board,” Charoen said. “With his experience and expertise in growing the F&B business, and experience in various industries, Koh will be able to contribute positively towards our vision for greater growth.”

The new Thai owners of F&N have been given a nudge by the operator of the Singapore bourse to reveal their plans for the conglomerate, according a report from The Straits Times via Asia News Network.

The SGX has given F&N bosses until April 18 to announce whether they intend the firm to stay listed on the exchange or go private – as most analysts expect.

F&N’s shares have been halted from trading since February 19. The SGX also said it would convert the trading halt into a trading suspension with effect from April 19, unless the company makes clear that it intends to keep its listing status.

F&N is considering its options with respect to its listing status and will make an announcement in due course, according to an announcement by the company on Monday.

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