Carlsberg gets a boost from Habeco

November 13, 2012 | 10:25
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Denmark-based brewery Carlsberg has received support to expand its ownership in Habeco to one-third of total shares.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade last week sent a document to Habeco ordering Habeco to sell an additional 13 per cent stake to its foreign strategic shareholder Carlsberg.

Habeco will sell shares to Carlsberg at the price of VND50,015 ($2.4) per share, according to the document. The price is equal to Habeco’s initial public offering (IPO) price. Habeco conducted an IPO in 2008.

Carlsberg became Habeco’s strategic shareholder in 2008, holding  a 16.07 per cent stake. One year later, Carlsberg signed a memorandum of understanding with Habeco at Carlsberg’s headquarters in Copenhagen on acquiring an additional more than 13 per cent at the Hanoi-based brewery.

“Holding 30 per cent of Habeco has been our strategic plan for long time. However, this process has taken time to fulfill legal procedures,” said Hoang Dao Hiep, regional marketing director of Carlsberg Indochina. Hoang declined to give further details.

However, Habeco deputy general director Vuong Toan in an interview with VIR late last year said the reason for Habeco to delay selling the additional over 13 per cent stake was that Habeco and Carlsberg failed to reach an agreement on price.

Efforts by VIR  to contact a spokesman of Habeco last week for comment were unsuccessful.
Habeco is now one of the three biggest beer companies in Vietnam with a 13 per cent market share, following Sabeco with 51.4 per cent and  Singaporean Asia Pacific Brewery’s Vietnam Brewery Limited with 30 per cent. In Hanoi, Habeco accounts for 85 per cent of market share.

In the first six months of 2012, Habeco reported revenues of $132 million, up 27.1 per cent year-on-year. The after-tax profit reached $11.4 million, down 5.41 per cent compared with the same period of last year.

“We have seen big potential in Habeco as the biggest brand name in the north. To cooperate with Habeco as a strategic shareholder, there will be more business opportunities for both Carlsberg and Habeco,” said Hiep.

He added that Vietnam was always one of the most important and potential markets for Carlsberg in Asia, following Japan and South Korea in term of output and revenue of beer.

In June 2009, Habeco and Carlsberg started construction on the Hanoi-Vung Tau Brewery, which will produce 50 million litres a year, in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The new brewery is an initiative in both sides’ plans to expand into the southern part of the country.

Carlsberg first entered Vietnam in 1993 through the formation of the Southeast Asia Brewery, a joint venture with Viet Ha Brewery. It owns 60 per cent equity of the joint venture. The brewer also acquired a 30 per cent stake of the Ha Long Brewery as well. It is now the market leader in central Vietnam holding a 100 per cent stake of Hue Brewery.

By Trang Linh

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