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Thais protest planned listing of beer company

Thais protest planned listing of beer company

Hundreds of people demonstrated outside Thailand's stock exchange Monday to protest plans by the country's largest beer maker to list its shares on the market. They said the move would encourage drinking.
Thai Beverage PLC, which brews Beer Chang (Elephant Beer), the country's top seller, has applied for listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Senior Vice President Ueychai Tantha-Obhas said earlier. It plans to complete the listing by the end of the year.
If successful, it would be the first alcoholic beverage company to list on the market in the predominantly Buddhist country.
Many of the demonstrators were anti-alcohol activists and members of Buddhist organizations, inspired by the religion's principle of abstinence from alcohol. Some carried banners reading, "Stop encouraging drinking, oppose the listing of Thai Bev on the SET." Others showed pictures of victims of drunken driving.
"Allowing them to raise more money in the market means we are promoting alcohol consumption. It is not the kind of company we want on the Thai market," said anti-alcohol activist Kamron Chudecha. "Alcohol kills people. It causes violence. It causes accidents."
The demonstrators will protest outside the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, he said.
Thai Bev, one of Southeast Asia's biggest brewers and distillers, was listed on the Singapore stock market in May 2006 after its previous attempt to list on the Thai market was derailed by a 2005 protest movement that drew thousands of people.
Buddhism teaches followers to refrain from consuming alcohol, but most Thais ignore the rule and beer consumption is high. Muslims, whose religion also opposes drinking, were also among the protesters.
The beer company, owned by liquor tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, says it plans to sell 80 million existing shares to investors in Thailand. The move would make Thai Beverage the second Thai company to have dual listings in Singapore and Thailand after cell phone service provider Total Access Communication DTAC.


Updated : 2021-04-14 20:05 GMT+08:00