Photo: Duc Anh
State ownership to come down to below 50 per cent or even zero, according to Minister of Industry and Trade.
Vietnam’s two beer giants, Sabeco and Habeco, must speed up the sale of State holdings to reduce its ownership to less than 50 per cent, authorities have insisted.
The State stake may even be reduced to zero, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said at the ministry’s meeting on July 12.
The direction is the latest attempt from MoIT to speed up the sale of State ownership in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) under its management.
The Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation (Sabeco) and the Hanoi Beer, Alcohol and Beverages Corporation (Habeco) are Vietnam’s major beverage players, with a combined market share of over 60 per cent as at 2015. Both were equitized eight years ago but neither have conducted an IPO and listed.
Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI), said there are now three urgent tasks for MoIT. “The first is to direct Sabeco and Habeco to list,” Mr. Hai told VET.
The second is to submit plans the government to sell shares and the third is to complete all handover procedures to the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC). “MoIT should act immediately,” Mr. Hai said.
In a document sent previously to MoIT, VAFI proposed the government divest the State’s holdings in the two largest brewers.
According to VAFI, divestment of 100 per cent of State capital in Sabeco and Habeco would be “a good choice” because it would help increase the maximum value of the two companies. But if the State continues to hold a 36 per cent stake then it continues to hold veto power at shareholders’ meetings. The sales price of the two companies would therefore fall, as would State budget revenue.
At the MoIT meeting on July 12, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also asked it to speed up the sale of State ownership in SOEs that are under its management. “State ownership in major companies like Vinamilk, Habeco and Sabeco must be sold on a transparent basis to earn money for the State,” PM Phuc said.
He added that the sale of State shares in SOEs in sectors other than power and food should be accelerated in the time to come. Private companies should be given priority for development, along with the divestment of State shares in SOEs, he said.
Habeco targets industrial production value of VND10.79 trillion ($484 million) this year, up 8.3 per cent against 2015, beer sales of 715 million liters, up 2.4 per cent, wine sales of 10.2 million liters, up 38 per cent, and sales of UniAqua bottled water of 2 million liters, an increase of 34 per cent.
Sabeco, meanwhile, targets to sell over 1.5 billion liters of products this year and contribute VND9.2 trillion ($418 million) to the State budget.
Sabeco was Vietnam’s largest brewer last year, reporting production of 1.38 billion liters. The No. 2 position was taken from Habeco by Heineken.
Sabeco made headlines last month in regard to the promotion of Mr. Vu Quang Hai, the son of former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
In June VAFI called for the dismissal of Mr. Hai as Deputy CEO of Sabeco due to his inexperience and the “illegality” of his appointment. On July 12 Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh directed MoIT to review and resolve the VAFI proposal.