Australian brewer eyes Sabeco and Habeco shares

With the aim of expanding operations in Vietnam, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has become a new competitor in the race to seize the stakes in Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation (Habeco) and Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation (Sabeco).

Australian brewer CUB will join the fray for the shares of both Habeco and Sabeco

The companies intentions were stated by CUB general director Jan Craps at the meeting of Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and the delegation of Australian enterprises on July 24, according to newswire Vnexpress.

According to Jan Craps, CUB plans to expand its operations in the southern province of Binh Duong and is looking to become the strategic investor of both Habeco and Sabeco.

According to information released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) at its monthly press conference organised on July 14, the sale of state stakes will be carried out this year.

Bui Truong Thang, deputy director general of MoIT’s Light Industry Department, said Habeco will submit its divestment plan to the ministry this week and Sabeco’s divestment plan will also be submitted before the end of the month.

At present, Habeco signed with Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) and Vietnam Valuation and Finance Consultancy (VVFC), appointing them as the consultancy firms for the state divestment.

Regarding Sabeco, according to unofficial information, a venture of BVSC, VVFC, and Earnst & Young Vietnam Limited was selected as the consultancy group for the state divestment.

The state divestment from Sabeco and Habeco has also attracted numerous foreign investors. Notably, in November 2016, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (Thai Beverage), Japanese Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. and Kirin Holdings Co. released their plans to bid for Sabeco’s shares.

Several other foreign brewers have been eyeing Sabeco since it was earmarked for equitisation, such as San Miguel, Heineken, and SABMiller. The move is part of these companies’ overseas expansion plans to counterbalance shrinking domestic markets.

Danish brewer Carlsberg, owning a 17.5 per cent stake in Habeco, also intends to increase its holdings.

The reason for foreign investors’ interest in Habeco and Sabeco is that Vietnam ranked among the Top-10 beer consumption markets in the world at the end of 2016, with total consumption projected to grow by 10 per cent year-on-year, to reach four billion litres in 2017.

Established in 1907, CUB is currently the largest beer brewer in Australia, holding 47 per cent of the beer market. Some of Australia’s most famous brands, including Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, Crown Lager, Melbourne Bitter, Pure Blonde and Cascade come from the company’s breweries. In 2011, the company joined the SABMiller group, the second largest brewer in the world.

By Ha Vy



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