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Vietnam. Habeco now valued at $1.14bln as stock nearly triples after listing debut

Vietnam's third largest brewer has become one of the most sought-after companies.

Eight years after its initial public offering, Habeco finally had its market debut late last month and quickly became one of the most sought-after listed companies.

The third largest brewer in Vietnam has seen its stock soar 2.8 times since its debut at the Hanoi Stock Exchange's Unlisted Public Company Market. The rally has left the company valued at VND25.3 trillion or $1.14 billion.

Habeco, which controls 20 percent of the local market and a leader in the north, debuted on October 28 at VND39,000 and closed at VND109,500 on Friday.

Its listing came amid the Vietnamese government's renewed push for privatization of state-owned companies.

Foreign investors always have eyes on the brewer as they are attracted by the strong growth of Vietnam’s beer market, one of the biggest in Asia with an estimated annual output increase of 25 percent by 2020.

While the government owns 81.79 percent of Habeco, Danish brewer Carlsberg holds 17.23 percent and is looking to further increase its stake.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, which manages the public stake in Habeco, is negotiating with Carlsberg on the deal.

When Carlsberg became the only strategic shareholder in Habeco in 2009, it reached an agreement to have priority rights to acquire any stake in the local brewer on offer. This even allows the Danish company to intervene in major decisions, including any selection of another strategic shareholder.

Earlier this week, Carlsberg said it wants to acquire an additional 61.79 percent through negotiations with the trade ministry. The remaining 20 percent would be offered to the public with Carlsberg itself having the right to place a bid, the Danish brewer suggested.

The government's plan to divest from Habeco has been on and off for several years as it is among the few state-owned companies that perform extremely well.

7 Nov. 2016

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