Vietnam’s biggest coconut milk producer plans to sell shares to the public in the next few years as sales soar thanks to a groundswell for plant-based diets in the West.
Ben Tre Import & Export JSC, which sells the coconut milk mainly to the U.S. and Europe, aims to go public by 2023, though it could be sooner if a major stake sale to foreign investors goes ahead next year, according to Vice Chairman Thai Van Chuyen.
“Demand from plant-based healthier diets is surging,” Chairwoman and Chief Executive Office Dang Huynh Uc My said. “We’ve been restructuring our production to get ready for overseas expansion.”
Consumers are increasingly turning to dairy-free substitutes, lured by their perceived health benefits and environmentally friendly image. The global market for dairy alternatives is forecast to reach $38.9 billion by 2025 at a 12.5% growth rate per year, Fior Markets said in a March report.
Betrimex, as the Mekong Delta-based company is known, plans to offer as much as 30% of its shares to foreign investors to raise at least $50 million after its planned restructuring is completed in June, according to Vice Chairman Chuyen. After that, the company will look to list on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, he said.
“We are seeking to expand our sales to other big potential markets such as China and the Middle East,” said Chuyen. “The plant-based diet revolution is catching on everywhere.”
More from the company:
- Betrimex plans to invest $50 million to triple production of coconut milk output for drinks and coconut water to 108 million liters by 2022, mostly for exports, as well as expand coconut cooking milk and build an activated charcoal plant.
- Betrimex exports to more than 40 countries, with the U.S. and Europe accounting for two-thirds of its shipments.
- The coconut business, which includes virgin coconut oil and desiccated coconut, is expected to account for 98% of the company’s revenue in 2022 from 53% last year.
- Revenue is forecast to grow to 2.1 trillion dong ($91 million) by 2022 from 1.25 trillion dong in 2018, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are projected to triple to 384 billion dong during the period, Chuyen said.
On Vietnam’s coconut industry:
- Vietnam is the world’s sixth largest grower of coconuts, with more than 1.3 million tons of coconuts produced a year. It trails behind Indonesia, Philippines, India, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
- The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, where Betrimex is headquartered, represents nearly half of the country’s coconut-growing total area of 150,000 hectares.
- Vietnam ships coconut products to more than 50 countries. It wants to raise its export value 10-fold in the next decade from $200 million now, Deputy Premier Truong Hoa Binh said last month.