Thai Beverage bids for a stake in Vietnam’s largest brewers

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Estimated total deal value is $2.9B.

With Vietnam’s government proposing to sell off Saigon Beer, Alcohol, Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) and Hanoi Alcohol Beer & Beverages Corp (Habeco) for an estimated total of US$2.2b (S$2.9b), various media outlets have revealed that Thai Beverage (Thai Bev) is one of several bidders.

According to data from Euromonitor International, Sabeco has been the leader for beer in Vietnam with a 46% market share in volume terms in 2015, underpinned by brands that include Saigon Export and 333.

Commenting on the issue, OCBC Investment Research cited two reasons why the acquisition is positive for ThaiBev, if successful. Nevertheless, it prefered to wait on the development and keep their assumptions unchanged for now.

Firstly, OCBC noted that Sabeco is set to be divested in two tranches.

Sabeco had recently filed documents to seek approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to join the Vietnam Stock Index (VN-Index) as the government would want the market to determine the price and valuation of Sabeco. Following its listing, the divestment of Sabeco will be done in two tranches, whereby the government will auction 53.59% in the company this year and the remaining 36% in 2017. Articles also suggest the government is looking for the highest bidder.

Secondly, OCBC said that Vietnam’s beer volume is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% over 2015-2020F based on Euromonitor forecasts.

Against this backdrop, the research firm said that there are a few notable foreign brewers that have presence in Vietnam. For instance, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV has a brewery in Vietnam, while Carlsberg has a 17% stake in Habeco, which holds a smaller market share of ~18% with its Bia Ha Noi brand.

Thai Bev’s peer Boon Rawd Brewery (maker of Singha beer) had also agreed to invest in Masan so as to tap on its distribution network in Vietnam.