At a press conference in late August, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the State would divest all 82 percent of Habeco’s stakes, worth VND9 trillion, that it is holding in the enterprise in 2016.
As for Sabeco, the divestment would be carried out in two phases. The first would be implemented in 2016, with 53.59 percent of stakes, worth VND24.5 trillion. In the second phase, the remaining 36 percent, worth VND16 trillion, would be sold, slated for 2017, after Sabeco lists its shares on the bourse.
Sabeco has been eyed by many large investors, both domestic and foreign, including the Saigon Securities Incorporated (SSI), Anh Duong Company, Duc Binh Group, Asahi from Japan, Heineken from the Netherlands, ThaiBev from Thailand and SAB Miller from the US.
Of the investors, ThaiBev in late 2014 once expressed its wish to buy 53 percent of Sabeco’s stakes at $2 billion. At that time, Sabeco, with two well known brands 333 and Bia Sai Gon, was holding 46 percent of the domestic market share.
Some months later, the Thai brewery intimated that it wanted 40 percent of Sabeco’s stakes at the price of $1 billion. However, no deal was made because Sabeco believed the price was unreasonable.
Besides ThaiBev, Singha, a subsidiary of Boon Rawd Brewery, also from Thailand, expressed its willingness to buy Sabeco’s stakes, but it was refused. Singha then spent its money on Masan Group’s subsidiaries with a $1.1 billion deal.
Not as large as Sabeco, but Habeco is also being hunted by investors. Carlsberg recently sold its brewery in Vung Tau City to Heineken to gather strength on ‘developing the market with existing basic fundamentals’, by developing with capital it holds in Habeco.
According to Carlsberg’s CEO, Cee’s Hart, in the last eight years, Carlsberg has increased its ownership in Habeco from 17.34 percent to 30 percent.
Dominic Scriven from Dragon Capital, a fund management company, commented that the Vietnamese beer market is attractive to brands from Japan and Thailand.
Sabeco is leading the market in output with 1.38 billion liters produced in 2015, followed by Heineken with 729 million, Habeco 667.8 million and Carlsberg 229 million.
The four big players alone hold 88.4 percent of the domestic market share. Acquiring Habeco’s and Sabeco’s stakes are the quickest way to gain market ahare.