Owl brand coffee maker Super Group gets $1.45b buyout offer

November 4, 2016

The Straits Times

Super executive director Darren Teo, the son of founder and managing director David Teo (above), says the firm had not been actively looking to sell up, but JDE’s global reach offered a very enticing growth opportunity. The Singapore firm has more than 160 products, including Super Coffee, Owl and Essenso instant coffees. BT FILE PHOTOS

Super Group, the local firm that has become a household name for its 3-in-1 coffee mixes, has received a $1.45 billion buyout offer from a Dutch beverage giant.

The huge deal – the biggest buyout offer announced here this year – would mean that yet another high-profile home-grown company is exiting the Singapore Exchange, following such firms as Eu Yan Sang and Neptune Orient Lines.

Netherlands-based Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) has tabled an all-cash offer of $1.30 per share, valuing Super at around $1.45 billion.

The $1.30 price is 62.5 per cent higher than the closing price of 80 cents on Oct 4, before Super was queried by the Singapore Exchange over trading activity.

Mr Keith Magnus, chief executive of investment banking advisory firm Evercore Asia (Singapore), which is advising Super on the deal, told The Straits Times yesterday: “The premium represents one of the highest premiums paid in recent Singapore takeover history.”

The market certainly welcomed the offer, sending Super shares surging 29.9 per cent to $1.26.

The bumper deal would set a number of benchmarks.

It is the biggest takeover offer announced this year, dwarfing Temasek Holdings’ $1.18 billion bid for SMRT, and the biggest since CMA CGM’s $3.38 billion buyout of Neptune Orient Lines announced last December.

It would also be the largest acquisition in South-east Asia’s food and beverage sector since ThaiBev took control of F&N in 2013.

If JDE acquires 90 per cent control of Super, it will privatise the firm.

Around 60 per cent of the shares have been committed to the offer, Super said.

Super executive director Darren Teo told The Straits Times that the firm had not been actively looking to sell up, but JDE’s global reach was a very enticing growth opportunity for the company.

“Although we received multiple approaches, we thought the partnership with JDE would be highly complementary to the brands we have.

“We wanted a partnership that could build on the legacy we have built, sachet by sachet,” said Mr Teo, the son of Super founder and managing director David Teo.

Super has more than 160 products, including Super Coffee, Owl and Essenso instant coffees.

Other products include instant cereals, instant soyamilk, cup noodles and non-dairy creamers.

JDE – part of the Reimann family’s beverage empire – has brands such as Moccona and Douwe Egberts.

JDE chief executive Pierre Laubies said yesterday: “We are excited to welcome Super Group to JDE and expand our footprint into the strategically important South-east Asian growth region.”

Mr Magnus of Evercore Asia added: “The offer provides a compelling opportunity for shareholders to unlock the value of the company.”

Azure Capital chief executive Terence Wong called it a “fair offer”, but added: “It’s sad to see one Singapore brand after another – Osim, Eu Yan Sang and now Super – being bought out of the stock market.

“The fact that Singapore-listed companies are being snapped up suggests that their valuation has been depressed in the stagnant stock market.”

More buyouts of Singapore firms are likely, said Mr Magnus, referring to the double-digit number of deals in Evercore’s pipeline.

But while the corporate landscape keeps changing, one thing is certain – Super will remain a part of daily life for Singaporeans.

“There are no plans to change the name and the brands,” Mr Teo said.