Vietnam plans minor stake sale in country's third largest beer firm

By Anh Minh   February 1, 2018 | 02:14 am PT
Vietnam plans minor stake sale in country's third largest beer firm
Carlsberg is holding 17.5 percent stake at Habeco. Photo by Reuters
The government is negotiating the deal with Carlsberg, but wants to retain a majority stake to hold veto power.

Vietnam's government is preparing to sell more shares in the country’s third largest beer company Habeco, but is unwilling to give up its majority stake just yet.

Cao Quoc Hung, vice Minister of Industry and Trade, said it is planning to sell less than 5 percent of its share in the company, known officially as Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corp.

The ministry is negotiating the sale with Carlsberg, a strategic partner that currently holds a 17.5 percent stake in the firm.

The Danish brewer has been discussing its priority purchasing rights with the Vietnamese government for years.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said that Carlsberg supports the idea of Vietnam's government retaining 36 percent of Habeco to secure veto power to protect Vietnamese brands. The price and date for the upcoming sale have not been announced.

Habeco’s revenue in 2017 dropped 2 percent from the year before to VND9.8 trillion ($431 million), and profit also fell 2 percent to VND754 billion ($33.16 million), according to the company’s financial reports.

Shares in the company closed at VND147,900 on Thursday, down nearly 4 percent from the previous day.

Last December, Thai Beverage won an auction to buy a majority 54 percent stake worth $4.84 billion in Vietnam’s top brewer Sabeco.

Vietnam is the biggest beer market in Southeast Asia, consuming nearly four billion liters last year.

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