Sabeco has been given the green light for unrestricted foreign ownership. (Source: tuoitre.vn)
Accordingly, the foreign ownership cap of 49% at Sabeco would be removed and the maximum rate of foreign ownership would be 100%, the company said.
Sabeco’s board of directors approved unrestricted foreign ownership on October 30 after removing business lines which required foreign ownership caps.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade currently holds a stake of 36 percent at Sabeco and Vietnam Beverage - a legal entity established by Thai Bev in Vietnam to avoid the cap of 49% for foreign investors – holds a controlling stake of 53.59% after a US$5 billion acquisition deal at the end of 2017. Vietnam Beverage’s acquisition of more than 343.6 million shares of Sabeco was the largest deal in Southeast Asia over the past three years.
Other stakeholders own 10.41 percent of the company. Vietnam Beverage has charter capital of VND682 billion (US$29.7 million).
Foreign ownership at Sabeco might not increase to 100 percent immediately, since the Ministry of Industry and Trade has not revealed any plans to sell its remaining stake. However, the unrestricted foreign ownership could help ThaiBev become a direct stakeholder at Sabeco.
In the first nine months of this year, Sabeco reported revenue of VND25.5 trillion, a rise of 7.8% over the same period last year, while pre-tax profit dropped by more than six per cent to VND3.3 trillion. The company targets to earn pre-tax profit of around VND4 trillion for the full year, 19 percent lower than last year.
Sabeco holds a market share of 42% in Vietnam, making it the largest beverage company in the country. Shares of Sabeco were traded at VND245,500 each on December 5, a significant drop from VND320,000 each that Vietnam Beverage paid to acquire its stake in the company.
In July 2016, the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) was given a nod to remove the cap for foreign ownership.