Officials at ThaiBev refused to comment on the proceedings related to the deal. Currently, the company is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of approximately $15 billion.
Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), Vietnam holds 89.6% stake in SABECO, which is valued at $2 billion. Rumors have it that MOIT is planning to sell up to 53% in SABECO to strategic investors.
SABECO chairman Phan Dang Tuat has announced earlier this year: “Privatisation means that SOE must abide by market forces and guidance of shareholders” but if the State owns majority stake of the company, investors will not be attracted to purchase (shares) if they can’t control the company themselves.
According to Forbes, the Heineken group bought 5% stake in SABECO from the OTC market and is seen as a potential strategic partner to the Vietnamese beverage maker. Heineken already holds 70% shares of the Vietnam Brewery Ltd (VBL), which produces Heineken beer, Tiger Beer etc. VBL’s market share in the Vietnam’s beverage market is ranked second, to SABECO.
In 2013, SABECO announced revenue of $1.12 billion (VND 24,006 billion), an increase of 10.3%, with sale volume touching 1.3 billion liter of beer, up by 4.6%. Meanwhile, net profit was $112 million (VND2.4 trillion), down by 9.3%. Furthermore, the company’s market share fell from 46.7% in 2012 to 45.5% in 2013 due to increased competition from foreign companies such as Heineken and Sapporo.
Meanwhile, it seems like ThaiBev’s promoter, billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi (net assets of about $11.3 billion) is keen on extending his business footprint in the Vietnamese beverage market. While he is chairman of the board, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (ThaiBev), he also has a controlling stake in the Thailand-based BerliJucker PublicGroup (BJC), which has recently taken over the operations of Metro Cash & Carry (valued at $817 million) in Vietnam, in August.
Early 2013, ThaiBev acquired the Fraser&Neave control (F&N), the largest beverage group in Singapore. F&N through subsidiary F&N Dairy Investments is the largest foreign shareholder (9.5%) in Vinamilk.
Not long after BJC acquiring Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam, F&N has spent nearly $100 million to increase ownership in Vinamilk up to 11%, which is currently worth $540 million.
Sirivadhanabhakdi also owns prime real estate in Vietnam such as Hanoi Melia Hotel (Melinh Point Tower building) in the Ho Chi Minh City.