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Thai Bev: No commitment made to bid for Sabeco stake

Released at: 22:04, 13/12/2017

Thai Bev: No commitment made to bid for Sabeco stake

Illustrative image (Source: baomoi.com)

Thai Beverages posts statement on website clarifying the status of its registration to purchase shares in Vietnamese brewer.

by Duy Anh

Vietnam Beverage, a unit of Thai Beverage, has expressed an interest in buying about 51 per cent of Vietnam’s top brewer, the Saigon Beer Alcohol and Beverage Corp. (Sabeco), according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), but Thai Beverage has said that no commitment has been made on bidding for the shares.

As VET reported earlier, MoIT said in a statement that as at 6pm on December 11, the one prospective investor that has registered an interest in buying 25 per cent or more of Sabeco that has publicized the information is the Vietnam Beverage Co., owned by the Vietnam F&B Alliance Investment Co., which is 49 per cent owned by BeerCo Ltd, an indirect but wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai Beverage.

However, Thai Beverage clarified in a statement on its website on December 13 that the registration of interest was only a notification submitted to the trade ministry pursuant to the regulation requiring potential investors who have an interest in acquiring 25 per cent or more of Sabeco shares. “It does not constitute a commitment on the part of Vietnam Beverage to bid for such a portion (or any) of Sabeco shares,” the statement said. “Vietnam Beverage has not submitted the registration form for participating in the bid, submitted any bid, or reached any agreement or decision to acquire a stake in Sabeco.”

“The matter is still under consideration by Vietnam Beverage, which has up to December 17, the last day of the bid registration process, to consider whether to submit the registration form for participating in the bid, and if so, for what quantum of shares, and until December 18 (unless extended by the trade ministry), to submit its bid with its bidding price.”

Thai Beverage also notified its shareholders that the outcome of the bidding process in the competitive offering of Sabeco shares will be determined by the trade ministry, and even if a bid is submitted, there is no assurance that it will be successful, whether in full or in part.

Sabeco ranks as the world’s most richly-valued major brewer after surging 58 per cent on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange this year, including a 6.8 per cent jump on December 12.

Vietnam is Asia’s third-largest beer producer after China and Japan and has a working-age population that will overtake the latter’s by 2030, and Sabeco has almost half the market. Vietnam could be home to the world’s second-largest increase in beer sales by volume between 2016 and 2021, after India.

More than $4 billion is sought from the stake sale. The government is offering 53.6 per cent of the brewer, though foreign investors are limited to a 38.59 per cent holding. Combined with the 10.4 per cent already held by investors from overseas, that would hit the foreign ownership cap imposed on some public companies.         

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