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Vietnam. Government seeks review of Sabeco Deputy CEO appointment

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has directed the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to review the appointment of Mr. Vu Quang Hai, Deputy CEO of the Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco).

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Mr. Binh asked the ministry to inspect and clarify the legal basis, criteria and procedures relating to the appointment of Mr. Hai and report to the Office of the Government before November 1.

As VET reported previously, the appointment of Mr. Hai, the son of the former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, has sparked controversy.

He was appointed as Deputy CEO of Sabeco in early 2015 when he was just 28 years of age. He took up the position of CEO of the PetroVietnam Finance Investment JSC (PVFI) when he was only 25.

“The appointment of Mr. Hai is completely illegal,” Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai from the Vietnam Association of Foreign Investors (VAFI) told VET.

Former Minister Hoang, meanwhile, has insisted that he did not suggest his son be appointed to the position. “Sabeco proposed the appointment in accordance with procedures,” he said.

He added that PVFI had recorded losses of over VND200 billion ($9 million) before his son became CEO. “These losses are not his responsibility,” he told local media.

VAFI called for Mr. Hai’s dismissal as Deputy CEO of Sabeco on June 14, due to his inexperience and the “illegality” of his appointment.

It noted that PVFI’s losses of VND155 billion ($6.97 million) in 2011 and VND67 billion ($3 million) in 2012 were under Mr. Hai’s stewardship.

Though PVFI was viewed as “nearly bankrupt” at this time, he was moved to the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency after one year and shortly afterwards became Sabeco’s Deputy CEO.

VAFI also believes there are problems in Sabeco and the Hanoi Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Habeco) being equitized nearly eight years ago but not yet being under the management of the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), as requested several times.

MoIT recently announced a plan to sell State capital in Sabeco and Habeco. Habeco will divest all of its State capital, worth VND9 trillion ($405 million), this year.

The sale of State capital at Sabeco, meanwhile, will be carried out in two phases. The first will divest 53.59 per cent of State stakes, worth VND24 trillion ($108 billion), this year, and the second will sell 36 per cent, worth VND16 trillion ($720 million), next year.

5 Oct. 2016

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