What will foreign investors do with strong Vietnamese brands?

Analysts have warned that strong brands may disappear once foreign investors buy into Vietnamese companies.

what will foreign investors do with strong vietnamese brands? hinh 0

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has announced the sale of 343.66 million Sabeco (Sai Gon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation) shares at the starting price of VND320,000 per share.

The market value of the State’s 53.59% stake is estimated at VND87.4 trillion (US$3.85 billion).

With the share price described as ‘sky high’, the divestment deal worth VND11 trillion is reserved only for investors with powerful financial capability.

Those making financial investments to seek profit won’t be interested in the deal because of the price. 

The investors interested in Sabeco shares aim to conquer the Vietnamese beer market. Sabeco has a firm foundation, strong brand and large retail network.

“Sabeco has 24 breweries and relations with 1,200 distributors. Foreign investors are wise enough to take full advantage of the factories and the distribution network built by Vietnamese to bring their products to the Vietnamese market,” an analyst commented.

He recalled that Unilever took over P/S (a Vietnamese toothpaste brand) and brought its Close-Up toothpaste into the Vietnamese market through the network it acquired. After Carlsberg bought Huda and Halida, the Vietnamese brands began fading away, although they still exist.

However, Truong Thanh Hoai from MOIT said there was no need to worry that Sabeco brand would disappear. 

Besides Sabeco, the state is also planning to sell another brewer – Habeco. However, according to the HCM City Securities Company, the agreement signed with Carlsberg, which became a shareholder of Habeco 10 years ago, has caused difficulties in divestment. 

The problem is that the average price of a Habeco stake is twice as much as the price at which Carlsberg plans to pay to buy. 

MOIT, the seller, must be sure that the stake sale campaign will bring optimal value. Therefore, the two parties still cannot find a common voice.

As for Sabeco, the share price continued to rise after MOIT’s announcement. The P/E of Sabeco share reached 50x, much higher than the 16x of Asahi, 21x of Carlsberg and 20x of Heineken.

Many investors wonder if Sabeco can sell the 53% stake with such a high selling price and low liquidity.

Some observers believe that Sabeco share price has been pushed up artificially by a group of investors, who want to profit from selling a Sabeco stake. 

Meanwhile, others keep Sabeco shares and refuse to sell, hoping the price will escalate.


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