Singapore-based $1-t fund manager keen on Sabeco shares, says Vietnam trade ministry

Sabeco's Saigon beers are display for sale in a market in Hanoi, Vietnam April 17, 2017. Picture taken April 17, 2017. Reuters.

Vietnam’s biggest brewer Sabeco has said a $1 trillion fund manager based out of Singapore was interested in its upcoming share disposal, according to the government media portal report, citing the company.

No further details were disclosed while DEALSTREETASIA could not ascertain the name of the fund.

Details regarding the state divestment from Vietnam’s largest brewer remain confidential at this time, said the deputy minister of industry and trade on Wednesday. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the agency representing nearly 90 per cent state holding in Sabeco.

DEALSTREETASIA has learnt that the recent Sabeco roadshow in Singapore did not provide much information to international investors, even as the ministry said several institutions were keen on a slice of the $9 billion business.

“Roadshow is only the first step of helping investors roll out the next move,” deputy minister Cao Quoc Hung reportedly said.

Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings was reported to consider acquiring Sabeco after participating the roadshow. Another Japanese firm, Asahi Group, was also reported to be present at the investment opportunity introduction.

Dutch brewing company Heineken is currently the sole foreign large shareholder at Sabeco with a 5 per cent ownership.

The state is still holding an 89.6 per cent stake at Sabeco, and earlier planned to fully exit the beer maker in two tranches. However, this plan is not practical as foreign ownership is still capped at 49 per cent in the business.

The industry ministry has also appointed the state securities commission as well as the police department to oversee the divestment process. Hung said, the involvement of these agencies was to avoid manipulation in the sale.

Sabeco stock price has increased dramatically to VND320,000 per share, which triples the starting price for its listing in December 2016.

The company, owning the largest beer market share of 42 per cent, is the second largest listed firm only after Vinamilk (valued at $12 billion).

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