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Thai billionaire sets sights on Vietnam beer market

(VOV) – Thai Beverage PCL., owned by Thailand’s third richest man, has approached the Vietnam government seeking to acquire a US$2 billion stake in Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco).
The government currently owns 89% of Sabeco, Vietnam’s largest brewer, which sells the 333 and Saigon Beer brands and controls about 46% of the nation’s beer market as of 2013, according to Euromonitor.

The Wall Street Journal in turn reports the MoIT is currently setting up a panel to restructure Sabeco and will sell up to 53% of it to several strategic investors according to a source from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), who asked not to be identified.

ThaiBev, which owns the Chang Beer and Oishi green tea brands in Thailand, is looking to buy a controlling interest in Sabeco say insiders familiar with the offer. ThaiBev is owned by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who according to Forbes had a net worth of $11.3 billion at the end of June.

ThaiBev’s interest in Sabeco comes on the heels of a failed bid to takeover Myanmar’s largest brewer by another of Charoen’s companies, Fraser & Neave Ltd.earlier this year. ThaiBev declined any comment.

The offer to purchase demonstrates the continued interest of foreign investors in the Vietnamese market despite the slow SOE equitization process in the country.

The acquisition of a stake in Sabeco would open up an alternative emerging market to Charoen, who has been on an aggressive shopping spree in the past few years in the property and consumer sectors.

The Thai tycoon had earlier this year acquired Metro & Cash Carry Vietnam at a price of US$800 million.


Tags: Euromonitor, MoIT, Sabeco, SOE equitisation, Thai Beverage PCL, tre, Wall Street Journal, đầu tư,