Thai Stock Exchange chief resigns over beer IPO in Singapore

BANGKOK, May 24, 2006 (AFP) – The head of the Stock Exchange of Thailand quit Wednesday after the local stock market failed to list the country’s best-selling brewer, which instead went to Singapore. Kittiratt Na-Ranong resigned and the stock exchange board appointed his deputy, Patareeya Benjapolchai, as the new president, effective from May 31, the Stock Exchange of Thailand said.

Kittirat had said he would resign if the Thai stock market was unable to list Thai Beverage Public Co. Ltd. producer of the country’s best-selling Chang Beer.

Thai Beverage turned to Singapore after strong anti-drinking protests in Bangkok derailed the firm’s local listing.

The anti-listing activists include former general Chamlong Srimuang, an opponent of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and Buddhist monks, who argued the listing in Thailand would lead to increased alcohol consumption in a nation that is already the world’s fifth largest per capita consumer.

Last week Thai Beverage launched an initial share offer worth up to 1.1 billion US dollars in Singapore ahead of its listing at the Singapore Exchange on May 30.

The initial public offering (IPO) was the biggest in Singapore since the share sale