A production line of Vinamilk fresh milk. (Photo: Internet)
Fraser & Neave, Singapore’s largest beverage firm, has shown interest in acquiring the state holding in Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) for $4 billion after the government announced a plan to divest from the dairy firm, the Saigon Times newspaper cited sources as saying.
The chief executive of a foreign fund whose representative now sits on Vinamilk’s board confirmed the information to the newspaper.
F&N, through its subsidiary F&N Dairy Investment, currently holds an 11.04% stake in Vinamilk. In addition, Dragon Capital, Deutsche Bank AG, VinaCapital and Vietnam Enterprise Investments are other foreign shareholders of Vinamilk.
Foreign ownership in the dairy firm has hit the ceiling of 49%. The foreign ownership limit in Vinamilk needs to be loosened so that F&N can proceed with its purchase.
The Vietnamese government’s investment arm, State Capital Investment Corporation, owns some 45% in Vinamilk. At the closing price of 117,000 dong a share on November 2, the state holding in the firm is valued at $2.8 billion and that of F&N $700 million.
Vinamilk, which is the largest blue-chip in Vietnam by market capitalization, posted a net profit of 5.88 trillion dong ($261.2 million) in the first three quarters of this year, representing a 35.4% year-on-year rise. Its net revenue increased 15.8% year-on-year to 29.77 trillion dong ($1.32 billin) in the period.
Dominic Scriven, CEO of Dragon Capital, said foreign investors are much keen on buying shares of the ten companies from which the government plans to withdraw. They are also interested in acquiring shares in a number of state-controlled giants such as mobile operator MobiFone, brewer Sabeco and banks.