The plan to divest State capital from major State-owned enterprises such as Sabeco (Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation) and Habeco (Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation) is good news for the market and will create a more favourable investment environment in Vietnam.
Vo Hien, Manager in transaction advisory services at Ernst&Young, made the statement and lauded the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to improving firms’ competitiveness and transparency through equitisation.
With the equitisation of Sabeco and Habeco, investors will have more choices among companies which have big market capitalisation and effective performance on the market, besides the few big names currently available such as Vinamilk, Vietcombank and VinGroup.
Additionally, after being listed, Habeco and Sabeco will be among the 10 firms with the biggest market capitalisation, which will help increase market liquidity and attract more foreign investors, Hien said.
At the same time, he noted that most SOEs subject to equitisation are weak, and will have to sell shares at low prices to attract buyers, which may cause a loss to the State. As a result, many companies are not keen on equitisation.
Meanwhile, successful SOEs just want to sell a small stake, lowering investors’ interest.
In the context, the sale of good stocks like those of Habeco and Sabeco helps develop the market, he said.
He suggested that the equitisation should be supervised by a steering board under the Government, Vietnam’s leading specialists, and foreign advisors, which is how the UK Government equitised some SOEs such as Royal Mail.
Hien said he attended forums in London discussing investment opportunities in Vietnam, and realised that UK investors are interested in Vietnam’s market, especially in infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, retail and finance-banking.