Vietnam top brewer Habeco to list 230 million shares

By    October 19, 2016 | 05:15 am PT
Vietnam top brewer Habeco to list 230 million shares
A man works at a production line of Hanoi Beer Corporation (Habeco) in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/ Nguyen Huy Kham.
The Hanoi Stock Exchange has allowed the company's shares to be traded on a market for unlisted companies.

Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverage JSC., better known as Habeco, has been given the green light from the Hanoi Stock Exchange to list 231.8 million shares on the UPCoM market for unlisted companies.

Habeco shares with the face value of VND10,000 (45 U.S. cents) will be traded on the market under the code BHN. The UPCoM market allows Vietnam to better regulate over-the-counter trading and gives newly listed companies enough time to get ready for the main stock exchanges.

The listing will value the brewery at VND2.3 trillion ($104 million) based on market capitalization.

Habeco is the market leader in the north and the third largest brewer in Vietnam, after Sabeco and Heineken-owned Vietnam Brewery Limited.

In terms of market share, Sabeco, as the dominant player, controls 40 percent of the local beer market while Habeco comes second with 20 percent. They are now 90 percent and 82 percent owned by the state respectively.

The government's plan to divest from Sabeco and Habeco has been on and off for several years. They are among the few state-owned companies that perform extremely well.

Foreign investors always have eyes on the two breweries as they are attracted by the strong growth of Vietnam’s beer market, one of the biggest in Asia. The Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association forecast the country will see its annual beer output increase by 25 percent by 2020.

The government requires state-owned enterprises to list for 90 days on the UPCoM market after becoming a public company. The next step is to list the shares on the main bourses.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, which is holding a major stake of 81.79 percent at Habeco, said Sabeco will follow in Habeco’s footsteps in the first quarter next year.

Successful exits from Sabeco and Habeco will bring about $2 billion more into the nation's coffers.

Unlike most other countries, Vietnam treats IPOs and listings as two different processes that are sometimes separated by years. Habeco in fact had its initial public offering in 2008.

In its new privatization drive, the govermnment has promised strong actions to speed up the process of selling and listing shares.

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