Thailand’s top beverage producer Thai Beverage (ThaiBev
) is pondering bidding for shares of brewer Sabeco
and dairy producer Vinamilk as the Vietnamese government seeks to reduce its holdings in the two firms, Chief Executive Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi was quoted by Nikkei as saying.
The executive’s statement comes at a time when the two firms are accelerating its share offerings to both foreign and domestic investors.
Vinamilk, officially known as Vietnam Daily Products JSC, will hold an auction on December 2 for a 9% stake worth around $800 million. This will be one of the largest offerings in Asia this year.
Fraser and Neave (F&N), a Singapore-based company in which Thai Beverage holds a 28% stake, is considering taking part in the bid, Thapana said.
F&N, already holding an 11% stake in Vinamilk, is the second largest shareholder after State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the government’s investment arm.
Sabeco or Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp., meanwhile, will be listing on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on December 12. The government plans to divest its 89.6% holding in two tranches, with 53.6% to be sold this year and the remainder next year.
Competition for shares of Sabeco is expected to heat up as a spate of international brewers are about to step in. Heineken, which already holds 5% of Sabeco, Japanese brewers Asahi Group Holdings and Kirin Holdings, and the UK’s SAB Miller are among the potential bidders.
Thapana says that Vietnam, with a large population base of 90 million, is the "priority market" in its international drive followed by the Philippines and Myanmar.
However, ThaiBev is not interested to buy shares of Hanoi-based brewer Habeco
, said Thapana. "We haven't followed Habeco at all," he said, denying earlier media reports.