Vietnam: Deadline for Sabeco divestment plan set as October 20

A statue of late Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh is seen at the Sabeco office in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam October 5, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

The Vietnamese government has requested its trade ministry to submit the divestment plan for beer maker Sabeco by October 20, after the finance ministry showed keenness on taking over the process.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc set this deadline in an effort to put the disinvestment, which has been delayed by a decade, on track, Reuters said, citing a government report on Thursday.

DEALSTREETASIA could not independently verify the report.

The Prime Minister recently agreed to sell 53.59 per cent of the country’s biggest brewer this year. However, there is little guarantee that the transaction will be completed within the remaining months of 2017, according to Dang Quyet Tien, head of the Ministry of Finance’s corporate finance division.

Tien earlier said the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), Vietnam’s sovereign wealth fund, should take over the sale if the trade ministry failed to submit its prospectus by the end of September.

He also highlighted that the stake sale in Sabeco as well as the other major brewer Habeco needed to conclude in November, with the target of contributing proceeds to the national enterprise development fund.

But apparently, the government is softening the time constraint for the trade ministry, which holds nearly 90 per cent of Sabeco.

Since the local government marketed the sale last year, a spate of foreign companies have shown the interest in buying.

ThaiBev is aiming to take a bigger slice of the Vietnamese F&B industry after the acquisition of a minority stake at Vinamilk through its F&N subsidiary.

Japan’s Kirin Holding in August visited this Southeast Asian country to express its keen interest in becoming a strategic investor. Other potential bidders include AB InBev and Asahi.

Sabeco is currently the second largest listed company with a $7.6 billion valuation. Its stock price has skyrocketed more than 145 per cent since its December 2016 debut.

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