Carlsberg takes its preemtive right to become Habeco’s largest stakeholder

By Phuong Anh - Dec 16, 2017 | 07:23 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERThe Danish brewery Carlsberg currently holds a 17.3 per cent stake in Habeco, one of Vietnam's biggest brewers based in Hanoi, and has a preemptive right to buy Habeco shares when the government divests its stake in the company.

Carlsberg takes its preemtive right to become Habeco’s largest stakeholder

According to the plan, the government of Vietnam will fully divest its stake from Habeco and Saigon Beer Corporation (Sabeco), two largest beer companies in the country. While Sabeco plans to auction 54 per cent stake on this December 18, Habeco is expected to sell its shares to strategic partners in the first quarter of next year.

Carlsberg already owns 17.3 per cent stake in Habeco and it has negotiated and discussed its priority purchase rights with the government to buy shares in Habeco for many years. The Danish brewer wants to own 51 per cent of shares in Habeco.

"Carlsberg, the government of Vietnam and Habeco have achieved some common understanding on a number of issues during the negotiations and we hope this will accelerate the process," said Carlsberg representative to Reuters.

Vietnam is one of the most attractive beer markets in the world and the largest beer market in Southeast Asia, fueled by a young population with nearly four billion liters of beer consumed last year.

Habeco has been the leading company in the segment of cheap beer in the market in the north of Vietnam for many years. But more and more new beer brands appear attracting more consumers and are gradually occupying the market share of the company.

The company currently holds about 18 per cent of the market share in Vietnam beer market, 20 per cent lower than the previous years.

Meanwhile, Sabeco and Heineken hold about 40 per cent and 23 per cent of domestic beer market share. Sabeco is the only large brewer in Asia not to have any strategic partner. Recently, ThaiBev has registered to buy 51 per cent of shares in Sabeco in an auction taking place at the end of this December.

Sabeco is currently valued at US$9 billion, making it one of the most valuable beer companies in Asia.