Sabeco is well-known for its brands of 333 and Saigon Beer. (Photo: Internet)
Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), which holds the biggest share of the Vietnamese beer market, is building a roadmap to cut the state holding in it by at least a 50% stake in the firm, Sabeco’s newly-appointed Chairman Vo Thanh Ha stated at a Ministry of Industry and Trade conference on December 24.
The stake will be offloaded in two tranches, with a stake of between 20% and 30% each. The second tranche will take place after the first one at least one year to secure the firm’s operational stability, Mr. Ha added.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade, on behalf of the state, currently holds an 89.59% stake in Sabeco and Heineken a 5% stake, even though the brewer went public eight years ago.
Sabeco’s chairman said that the firm was not keen on selling its stake to foreigner players for fear of interest conflicts.
He also asked for clarification of the objectives of further privatization as Sabeco has applied cutting-edge technologies and has strived to improve its governance.
Local media has reported that up to nine foreign and domestic companies including globally-known beer producers have submitted bids to buy stakes in Sabeco. Four foreign players include Thai Beverage Group (ThaiBev), Japan’s Asahi Breweries, the US-based SAB Miller and the Netherlands’ Heineken.
Five domestic candidates namely Duc Binh Group, Hung Thinh Diamond Company, Lien Viet Group, Saigon Securities Inc and Sunshine Consulting and Investment JSC are keen on acquiring a stake in the brewer.
Local businesses have more advantages in this race, as the criteria for strategic investor require that the partners support Sabeco in improving production capability and quality, but do not directly compete with the beer maker.
Vietnam is one of the leading beer consuming countries in Asia, after China and Japan. The country is forecast to drink about 3.2 billion liters of beer this year.
Sabeco, which is famous for its brands of 333 and Saigon Beer, has projected its revenue up 3% year-on-year to 31.72 trillion dong ($1.41 billion) and net profit up 2% to 3.11 trillion dong ($137.8 million).