Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Key Suntory unit raises US$3.93bn in IPO

AFP, TOKYO

A man walks past a Suntory beverage vending machine in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Japanese drinks giant Suntory said yesterday that a sale of shares in its food-and-beverage unit raised a less-than-expected US$3.94 billion, but the initial public offering (IPO) is still set to be the biggest on the Tokyo Stock Exchange this year.

The share sale comes after Suntory, one of Japan’s biggest brewers and non-alcoholic drinks makers, embarked on a string of overseas acquisitions as part of its bid to offset a shrinking domestic market.

Suntory yesterday confirmed that about 125 million shares were sold in the privately held company’s Suntory Beverage & Food unit, an IPO valued at ¥387.5 billion (US$4 million) based on a sale price of ¥3,100 per share.

The pricing was at the low end of a range announced last month. At the time, Suntory said the listing could fetch as much as ¥475.76 billion, or ¥3,800 per share.

Tokyo’s soaring stock market has seen wild volatility since the benchmark Nikkei 225 index hit a five-year high in late last month, which may have impacted investor interest in the offering.

Shares of the unit, which produces non-alcoholic beverages including soft drinks and bottled tea, would be listed on Japan’s premier bourse on July 3.

The division’s sales last year totaled ¥992.1 billion, or more than half of the Suntory group’s ¥1.85 trillion in revenue.

Suntory Holdings and its alcoholic beverage unit would remain privately held, earlier reports said.

The company’s founding family, which established the firm in 1899, retains a stake of nearly 90 percent in Osaka-based Suntory Holdings.

The parent company has long been known for its whiskey and beer offerings, but it has been expanding into the food and beverage sector.

Japan, Suntory is well known for print advertisements and television commercials starring the likes of US actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones.

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