|A production line at a Sabeco factory. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is planning to auction its stakes in Sabeco, reducing the State holdings from 89 per cent to 36 per cent. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Long
HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Industry and Trade is drawing up a plan to sell 53 per cent of its stakes in Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco).
In the plan, which must be submitted to the Government for approval, the shares would be auctioned and the State holdings in Sabeco would decrease from the current 89 per cent to 36 per cent after the sale. Sabeco's famous brands include Beer 333 and Saigon Beer.
"We have yet to decide the selling price," said Sabeco Chairman Phan Dang Tuat. "However, any investors who want to partner with Sabeco must satisfy the criteria submitted to the Government by the ministry."
More than 10 domestic and foreign investors have expressed their interest in buying Sabeco's stakes, including large international corporations such as Japan's Asahi Breweries, the Netherlands' Heineken, Thailand's ThaiBev and the US's SAB Miller.
Interested domestic investors include Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), Sunshine Consulting and Investment Joint Stock Co, and Duc Binh (DB) Group. The ministry will likely choose two investors from the group.
Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that ThaiBev was keen on buying Sabeco's stakes and willing to pay as much as US$1 billion to acquire 40 per cent of the State-owned company's shares, equivalent to VND80,000 ($3.74) a share.
On the over-the-counter (OTC) market, Sabeco's shares closed at VND71,500 ($3.34) a share on March 10.
Sabeco is the biggest Vietnamese beer maker, with a 46-per-cent market share, equivalent to 1.3 billion litres. The Ha Noi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corporation is the second largest, with 637 million litres, according to the Euromonitor's market report.
Sabeco is holding 100 per cent of charter capital in three member businesses and long-term investments in 19 associated companies. It reported total sales of nearly VND29.8 trillion ($1.4 billion) and a pre-tax profit of VND3.672 trillion ($171.6 million) by the end of 2014.
Viet Nam's beer market has attracted more foreign investors, thanks to its growth prospects. Vietnamese people spent at least $3.1 billion on beer and consumed 3.14 billion litres last year, excluding imported beer. This is an 8 per cent increase over the previous year, according to a January report by the Vietnam Beverages Association.
The report expects beer volume in Viet Nam to grow 9 per cent this year to 3.88 billion litres. — VNS