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4-2017

Global hop market

A local alternative to mass beer suggested by independent brewers has been successful and is now altering the global market. Beer is becoming more diversified, so transnational companies have to accept the new game rules and to switch focus to young and fast growing markets. All these processes increased the demand for aroma and bitter hop as well as their acreage expansion on two continents. However now there appeared a downward trend of alcohol consumption in the world, so even special sorts can soon turn to be sufficient. In this connection the dynamic American hop market is already facing some problems. EU hop producers have become more cautious, they are not racing to exceed the demand and look forward with more confidence, judging by the contract terms. 

Hop Market in Russia

Germany still dominates the Russian market, yet over the recent two years one has been able observe a continuous success of Czech hop suppliers. Their expansion and growing popularity of hops from the United States became the drivers of supplies growth in 2016 despite the preceding modest harvest crop in the EU, as well as the factor of relative stability in 2017. In this connection, in 2017, the ratio of the varieties continued to shift towards the aroma ones, and the supplies of Magnum hop and other alpha varieties were reduced. However, the import of bitter hop pellets is partially replaced by extracts, especially from the major beer manufacturers. Total volumes of alpha acid supplies, according to our estimation, decreased by approximately 5% and returned to the level of 2015. Barth Haas Group continues dominating the hop products market; HVG also increased its weight. At the same time, Morris Hanbury significantly reduced the supplies in 2017.

Vietnam’s largest brewer Sabeco mulls listing on southern bourse

Vietnam’s largest brewer Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corp (Sabeco) is contemplating a listing on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, where the country’s largest blue chips are currently listed, the local industry ministry said, in a document.

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“The ministry has reported to the government about its privatization plan for Sabeco four times since 2012, and the overall goal is to list the company’s stocks as the state capital is divested,” the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a response to the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors, which favours state exit from commercial businesses.

“The ministry acknowledges that the delay in listing has disappointed investors. Therefore, it will ask the government for consideration of listing on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange,” it added. VAFI had earlier urged the government to accelerate the divestment in Vietnam’s two biggest beer firms, Sabeco and its Hanoi-based peer Habeco. Accordingly, the association expects the industry ministry, which represents the state holdings in these two enterprises, to act swiftly in selling significant stakes from almost 90 per cent (in Sabeco) and 82 per cent (in Habeco), to minority holdings.

The local government had indicated that it would bring down state ownership in a single tranche to 36 per cent in a move that would value the company at over $2 billion. This led to a lot of interest from international beverage companies in the state-owned firm.

A group of foreign bidders including Thai firms Thai Beverage and Singha Corp, along with US and Japanese brewers, had expressed keenness to pick a major stake in Sabeco.

However, Sabeco’s executives then said the company preferred domestic buyers given that several local businesses such as Saigon Securities Inc and Lien Viet Group had submitted bids.

VAFI’s general secretary Nguyen Hoang Hai opines that it does not matter if the buyer of Sabeco’s 53 per cent equity is a domestic or overseas company as long as sale process was transparent. In addition, it is important for Sabeco to have better corporate management, the association spokesman added.

Sabeco launched its IPO in 2008 and, since then, Heineken is the only major foreign shareholder with 5 per cent interest.

Sabeco is the largest producer of beer and beverage products in Vietnam, which has reported 3.4 billion litres of beer consumption in 2015. Habeco, the second largest player, reportedly has a market share of more than 17 per cent.

16 Aug. 2016

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