Vietnam picks UBS, Saigon Securities as advisors for Vinamilk’s 3.3% sale

A woman shops for Vinamilk products. Photo from the company's website.

Vietnam has hired Swiss financial services firm UBS AG and Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) as advisors for the next stake sale of its biggest listed business, dairy firm Vinamilk.

Hanoi-headquartered brokerage house SSI is a repeat advisor. It joined a consortium along with Morgan Stanley and Vietnam’s asset manager VinaCapital to advise on the 9 per cent sell-down last year.

ThaiBev unit Fraser&Neave was the only investor to acquire a 5.4 per cent stake from the December offer. The next 3.33 per cent sale, which is set to be completed by next month, is an auction of the unsold tranche of the previous divestment.

Vietnam’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), which holds 39 per cent shares at the $9.5 billion dairy company, said in a statement that the new advisors will help decide on the starting price for the auction, connect to both domestic and international investors, and implement the sale.

The country’s business reform and development committee had earlier said the disposal of this 3.3 per cent stake could bring more than VND7 trillion ($308.4 million) to the state.

Vinamilk’s stock price closed at VND148,500 on Wednesday.

Along with the expected sales from beer firms Sabeco and Habeco, the Vinamilk deal will add to the number of high value divestments, said BIDV Securities Company in a note.

However, the big size is only due to the large valuation of the companies, while particularly for the case of Vinamilk, a 36 per cent shareholding post transaction remains veto right for SCIC.

The 2016 tiny offer at 9 per cent equity was seen as unattractive to overseas strategic investors, who had the financial capability to bid for a volume worth $800-900 million. Frase&Neave, which already owned 11 per cent of Vinamilk by then, acquired the shares to consolidate its presence in the lucrative business to 16.4 per cent.

The Thai beverage firm has since then raised its holding in Vinamilk to 18.7 per cent through the stock exchange.

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