Viet­nam eyes wind­fall from beer firm stake sale

New Straits Times - - Business -

HO CHI MINH CITY: Viet­nam’s plan to sell its Saigon Beer Al­co­hol Bev­er­age Corp stake in tranches may help the gov­ern­ment ex­tract the best price af­ter the brewer’s mar­ket value surged to US$7 bil­lion (RM30 bil­lion).

The phased-sale will be one way for the gov­ern­ment to get “max­i­mum val­u­a­tion” for its 90 per cent hold­ing in the com­pany, also known as Sabeco, ac­cord­ing to Javier Gon­za­lez Las­tra, a Lon­don-based an­a­lyst at Beren­berg. The gov­ern­ment ex­pects to sell the first of three slices of its hold­ing in the coun­try’s big­gest brewer in the fourth quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

Heineken NV, An­heuser-Busch InBev NV and Ja­pan’s Asahi Group Hold­ings Ltd are among for­eign com­pa­nies that have shown in­ter­est in a stake in Sabeco. An ex­pand­ing Viet­namese mid­dle class and youth­ful pop­u­la­tion helped drive a 300 per cent surge in beer de­mand since 2002.

The gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to ap­prove Sabeco’s plan by the mid­dle of next month. Ad­di­tional stake sales in the com­pany may take place through next year.

Shares of Ho Chi Minh Ci­ty­based Sabeco have more than dou­bled since listing in De­cem­ber on ex­pec­ta­tions of a stake sale. Its price-to-earn­ings ra­tio is 36, com­pared with about 20 for Carls­berg A/S, the Dan­ish brewer that owns a stake in Hanoi Beer Al­co­hol Bev­er­age Corp.

Sabeco’s shares have climbed 28 per cent this year through Tues­day, com­pared with the 19 per cent gain in the bench­mark Viet­nam Ho Chi Minh Stock In­dex. The stock dropped 1.2 per cent in trad­ing yes­ter­day.

Viet­nam’s per-capita beer con­sump­tion will reach 40.6 liters this year, mak­ing it the big­gest con­sumer in South­east Asia. Bloomberg

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