Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) has recently proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to auction the state’s 90 per cent stake in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco) and its 82 per cent stake in Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Habeco), according to newswire Baodauthau.vn.
After the auction, VAFI expects to acquire over $3 billion, which will be used to construct urban railway lines in Hanoi.
The proposal was raised in the context of the Vietnamese government’s increasing interest in divesting the entirety of its shares held in enterprises. Notably, in October, 2015, State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) unveiled plans to sell the entire state capital in ten big state-owned enterprises to fatten state coffers by almost $4 billion.
According to VAFI, both Habeco and Sabeco have been equitised for eight years, however, both have been delaying getting listed on the stock markets. Besides, the two companies produce slow growth, despite their promising potential and prominent market share.
According to the Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association (VBA)’s statistics published in January, the beer products of Sabeco and Habeco are making up 60 per cent of the domestic market. Sabeco is the largest beer firm, having produced 1.38 billion litres in 2015, making up 46 per cent of the market. Habeco ranks third with 667.8 million litres, equalling a 17.3 per cent market share.
In early 2015, Thai Beverage, owned by Thailand’s third richest man Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, made a $1 billion offer to buy a 40 per cent stake in Sabeco, however, the necessary government authorisation for the deal is yet to be issued.
In 2008, Carlsberg became a strategic partner of Habeco after 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 MoIT, which has been pending ever since.