Suntory drinks unit gets green light for $4.7bn Tokyo flotation

SUNTORY Holdings, the family-owned Japanese beverage group, received approval yesterday to list its non-alcoholic unit on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Valued at $4.7bn (£3.1bn), the initial public offering of the division, best known outside Japan for its ownership of Orangina Schweppes, will be Asia’s largest so far this year.

The Suntory Beverage & Food (SB&F) shares will be listed on 3 July, the parent company said — with the unit expected to become the third largest beverage company in Japan by market capitalisation once it floats.

The valuation is based on an estimated issue price of ¥ 3,800 (£24.80) per share.

Suntory Holdings will maintain a 59.5 per cent stake in SB&F.

The firm said it plans to use most of the proceeds to fund overseas deals, particularly in southeast Asia. It will also pay off debt from previous acquisitions.

SB&F’s share offering comes three years after a failed merger attempt between the parent company and its rival Kirin Holdings.

Seeking to diversify away from weak demand in the domestic market, Suntory Holdings had already acquired French-based Orangina Schweppes in 2009 and New Zealand’s Funcor Group in 2010.

Tokyo has seen several new listings this year as firms take advantage of the Nikkei’s strength.

The index has risen 38 per cent since the beginning of the year.