Trade Ministry denies sale of top brewery shares to Chinese investors

By Anh Minh, Hung Le   October 3, 2019 | 07:32 pm GMT+7

Vietnam’s trade ministry, which can veto share sales by Sabeco, has confirmed that Chinese investors have not acquired shares in the nation’s largest brewery.

Responding to a question at a Wednesday press conference, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that rumors about Chinese investors buying shares in Sabeco after Thai owners took a controlling stake in the company in 2017 are "completely untrue."

Sabeco has two major shareholders now. Thai beverage giant ThaiBev holds a 53.59 percent stake through a local subsidiary, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) holds 36 percent, while other shareholders hold the remaining 10.41 percent, Hai said.

With its stake in Sabeco, MoIT retains a veto right on any move the brewer makes that it deems unsuitable, he added.

Hai noted that although the government welcomes and supports all foreign investors expanding their business operations in Vietnam, dissemination of false information may affect the reputation and interests of shareholders.

He added that Sabeco and other businesses should gather evidence and report to authorities, including the police, upon hearing of false rumors.

Sabeco is a public company listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE). In December 2017, Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) acquired a 53.59 percent stake in Sabeco from MoIT for $4.78 billion through a local entity, Viet Beverage (VietBev), in which it now holds a 99.39 percent stake.

At Sabeco’s annual general meeting in April this year, company chairman Koh Poh Tiong had also denied rumors that ThaiBev had sold Sabeco shares to Chinese investors.

According to Sabeco’s latest semi-annual report, in the first six months of 2019, the company registered a net profit of VND2.82 trillion ($98.56 million), up 15.24 percent year-on-year, on revenues of VND18.42 trillion ($796.2 million), up 8.51 percent year-on-year.

At the end of 2018, Sabeco had a 42.8 percent share of the Vietnamese beer market, estimated to be worth around $3.4 billion, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation.

 
 
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