Carlsberg turns back to core market in Vietnam

August 30, 2016 | 09:08
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The world’s fourth largest beer producer Carlsberg Breweries A/S completed the sale of its entire holding, equalling a 55 per cent stake, in Carlsberg Vietnam Breweries-Vung Tau JSC, its joint venture with Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverage JSC (Habeco). The stakes were transferred at a yet undisclosed value to Heineken so that Carlsberg can focus on business at the northern market.

Chief Executive Officer Cees’t Hart told Bloomberg that the sale, which was completed in July, would allow Carlsberg to concentrate on its existing market in the northern part of the country. In another move, the Danish brewer is awaiting the government’s approval to raise its holding in Habeco to 30 per cent from the existing 17 to further improve its footprint in the north.

Along with its strong determination to strengthen hold on its core market, Carlsberg also plans to overtake its rivals in the domestic high-end beer segment by launching Tuborg in Vietnam.

Earlier in April, Carlsberg released its plans to spend VND450 billion ($20.2 million) on its marketing programme for Tuborg, the number one beer brand by volume in Carlsberg Group’s portfolio. Besides, Carlsberg spent an additional $1 million on the bottle design which will sport a unique easy-to-use pull-off cap.

Carlsberg entered Vietnam in 1993 through the joint venture South East Asia Brewery. Currently, the company owns 60 per cent of the venture with Viet Ha Corporation. In 1994, Carlsberg acquired 50 per cent of Hue Brewery Limited (HBL), the market leader in Central Vietnam. HBL became a wholly owned subsidiary of Carlsberg when the company acquired the remaining 50 per cent in 2011.

In 2008, Carlsberg simultaneously acquired a minority share in Ha Long Brewery and became a strategic partner of Habeco by buying a 17.23 per cent stake. Carlsberg expressed its interest in buying a further 13 per cent, but the deal yet again hinges on the approval of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Carlsberg ranks fourth among the largest beer manufacturers in Vietnam, with a 2015 total capacity of 229 million litres, following Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco) with 1.38 billion litres, Heineken with 729 million litres, and Habeco with 667.8 million litres.

Regarding Heineken, since entering Vietnam in 2011, the company operates under two names, the wholly-owned Asian Pacific Breweries (APB) in Hanoi and Vietnam Brewery Limited Company (VBL), in which it holds a 60 per cent stake. According to Frans Eusman, Heineken’s Asia Pacific president, Vietnam is Heineken's second most profitable market after only Mexico.

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By By Ha Vy

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