Hanoi Alcohol Beer and Beverage JSC (Habeco) will end negotiations over sale of more shares to Denmark’s Carlsberg in November.
At a conference on State-owned enterprise equitization in Hanoi City, a Habeco senior official said the company has tumbled on numerous obstacles in the negotiation process.
Vuong Toan, deputy general director of Habeco, said Carlsberg had bought 16% of Habeco’s shares to become a strategic partner as stated in a cooperation agreement signed in 2009. The deal offers Carlsberg a priority option to acquire more shares at the State-owned company.
Habeco had conducted nine rounds of talks with Carlsberg before the Government allowed Habeco to proceed with the stake sale at the end of this year.
Carlsberg, which now owns 17.5% of Habeco, wants to increase its stake to at least 51%. However, the Vietnamese Government does not allow foreign companies to own more than 49% of Vietnamese companies trading in alcohol, food and real estate.
A source told the Daily that the share price is the biggest problem that remains to be solved. Last month, the price of the Habeco stock on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) averaged out at VND85,000 (US$3.74) per share, meaning its market capitalization amounted to VND19.35 trillion.
This price is double the level in October last year when the company listed on the bourse and 50% higher than in the initial public offering (IPO) in 2008. However, Carlsberg has insisted on acquiring Habeco shares at the IPO price, making it tough to reach common ground.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the administering agency of Habeco, has yet to officially announce how many shares would be offered and whether shares would be sold at once or in stages. And the ministry has not informed Carlsberg and other investors of a Habeco share sale cap.
If Carlsberg acquires an extra stake at Habeco as planned, it would hold 30% of Vietnam’s beer market, the second largest market share after Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Company (Sabeco) with 40%.