VIETNAM: Government Pauses Brewer Sale Plans, Opts For IPOs

The Vietnamese government has decided not to sell its stake in the leading brewers of the country right now, but will instead publicly list their shares on local stock exchanges.

The government has been considering its options for the future of the 89.6% stake it owns in market-leading Sabeco and 82% stake in smaller rival Habeco, collectively estimated to be worth $2.2bn. In an interview with Reuters, an official from Trade & Industry Ministry said the government wants their valuation to be transparent and decided by the markets.

The listing may happen this year itself, but may be delayed to early 2017.  The official also said that following the listing, the government will decide if any foreign brewers or other investors can take a controlling stake in the two companies.

The local beer market is worth around 4 billion litres in volume terms, and is expected to grow by around 4% until 2021.  Sabeco owns a 40% share of the market, while Habeco has a 20% share.