BizLIVE - Vietnam will kick off the process of selling its stake in the country’s largest brewer Sabeco in April next year.
Vietnam Gears up Sale of Largest Brewer
The Vietnamese government will unload a large stake in Sabeco next April. Photo: Reuters
The Vietnamese government will start the sale process for Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), the country’s largest brewery company, in April next year after the brewer’s share listing on December 6, The Wall Street Journal cited an industry ministry official as saying.
The government has invested global investment banks to pitch the stake sale in Sabeco, which has surpassed real estate developer and retail chain operator Vingroup (VIC) to become the fourth largest bluechip on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, with a market cap of $4.9 billion at the close on December 12.
The size of the stake the government will offload is yet to be decided, according to Phan Dang Tuat, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Enterprise Reform Commission.
However, the people with knowledge of the process said the government could sell a stake of at least 40% worth $1.8 billion. The ministry now holds an 89.6% stake in Sabeco.
Since its debut on December 6, the stock of Sabeco (coded SAB) has jumped 57% on thin volume to touch 172,800 dong ($7.6) a share on December 12.
Sabeco, which is well-known for its brands such as 333 and Saigon beer, commands over 40% of the local beer market. The appeal of its shares comes from the country’s young population and fast-swelling middle income class.
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, the UK’s SAB Miller and Thailand’s top beverage producer Thai Beverage are among the potential bidders.
The government is also looking to sell its nearly 82% stake in Hanoi Beer Alcohol & Beverage Joint Stock Corp. (Habeco), which is the country’s third-largest brewer.
Danish beer giant Carlsberg, which stepped in to buy a strategic stake in Habeco, and the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade are stuck in negotiations on the stake sale. 

TUAN MINH