ThaiBev eyes Vietnam’s beer maker SABECO

SEBECO's beer brands

The Thai Beverage Group (ThaiBev) is talking to the authorities in Vietnam to acquire a stake in in SABECO, Vietnam’s largest beverage producer. reported a local news wire.

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.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.