, the top brewery company in Vietnam, has received a green light from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to list its shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange by December, a move that has been long awaited by investors from Asia, Europe and the U.S.
The ministry has required Sabeco, which stands for Saigon Beer, Alcohol, Beverage Corp, to hire experienced and prestigious consultancy agencies to advise on the listing.
Phan Dang Tuat, head of the ministry's Enterprise Renovation and Development Committee, told Reuters that Sabeco had 10 to 12 weeks to debut, depending on the consultative contract. Tuat did not elaborate how much of the company will be sold in the December listing plan.
Ho Chi Minh City-based Sabeco is valued at about $2 billion by Hanoi, according to Reuters. The state stake in the firm remains high at 89.56% although the firm launched its initial public offering in 2008. Heineken
holds a 5% interest in the brewer.
At a press meeting after a regular cabinet gathering on September 1, an industry and trade vice minister tipped that the ministry had proposed divesting the state holding in Sabeco in two tranches.
In the first tranche, as much as a 53.59% holding, worth some 40 trillion dong ($1.8 billion) will be sold this year while the remaining 36% will be offloaded next year.
A number of international beer producers have expressed interest in acquiring a majority stake in the firm.
Dutch brewer Heineken NV, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and its merger partner SABMiller Plc, as well as Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. and Kirin Holdings Co. are among seven foreign companies that have registered to bid for stakes in Sabeco, its Chief Executive Officer Le Hong Xanh told Bloomberg earlier this month.
Thailand’s Singha Asia Holding Pte. and Thai Beverage Pcl or ThaiBev - the flagship company of Bangkok's billionaire beer magnate Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi - have also signed up to take part in the Sabeco auction.
The government has plans to divest from Hanoi-based Habeco
, which is well known for its Bia Ha Noi brand. It is ranked third by market share in Vietnam after Sabeco and Dutch brewer Heineken NV.