How are foreign brewers performing in Vietnam?

Sabeco, the biggest Vietnamese brewer, has fallen into Thai hands, while Carlsberg is stepping up the process to become a controlling stakeholder in Habeco.

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The room for Vietnamese producers in the home market has become smaller and smaller.

Neo Gim Siong Bennett, general director of Sabeco, said at an event for ThaiBev some days ago that Sabeco, under the ‘ThaiBev reign’, will be the strategic card which helps the group reach 50% of revenue from overseas by 2020.

ThaiBev believes that the brewer from Vietnam is strong enough to exploit the Indochina market, including Myanmar.

The acquisition of 53.39% of Sabeco shares was enough to raise ThaiBev’s market share in ASEAN from 23% to 26%, according to the Bangkok Post.

Sabeco is holding 42% of market share in Vietnam, which means that the Thai owner owns 22% of interest in the market, which has the highest consumption level in the region and third in Asia.

For Heineken, with its four major brands Heineken, Tiger, Larue and Amstel, the brewer holds 22% of the Vietnamese market share. It controls the high-end market segment with 67% of market share, of which 40% belongs to Tiger and 27% to Heineken.

The number 1 position in the high-end market segment brings Heineken huge profits of trillions of dong a year, though Heineken is not the largest brewer in Vietnam. It now owns five production facilities, including three in the south and two in the central region, the two key markets for it.

In the case of Carlsberg, after taking over Hue brewery, the brewer from Denmark now ranks fourth in the market with 9.7% of market share. Each customer bought 34.5 liters of beer a year in Vietnam alone.

Habeco holds the third largest market share with 22%. If counting the benefits from Habeco, Carlsberg, as a big shareholder, owns another 4% of interest in the Vietnamese beer market.

The Danish brewery has, more than once, expressed its willingness to raise its ownership ratio in Habeco to 51%. The company is working with MOIT on the deal.

If Carlsberg becomes the shareholder with controlling stake in Habeco, the Vietnamese beer market will become a playing field for foreign players, with little room for Vietnamese.

Vietnamese beer brands have been sold to foreign investors. Sapporo, for example, which was once a Vietnamese owned brand, has become a foreign company, and is 100% owned by Japanese Sapporo International Inc.

Huda is a similar story. It was owned by the joint venture of Hue Brewery and Carlsberg, and then became 100% Carlsberg owned.


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