Vietnam’s biggest brewery firm Sabeco on Monday announced that it has removed all restrictions on foreign ownership, opening up the $6.5-billion company to further investments from overseas strategic investors.
As part of a push to privatise state companies to offset mounting public debt, the government had earlier sold a 53.6 per cent stake in Sabeco to ThaiBev for $4.8 billion. The industry ministry still holds a 36 per cent stake in Sabeco with veto powers.
ThaiBev owner and billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who has been aggressively snapping up assets in Vietnam including Vinamilk, Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam and Melia Hanoi Hotel, is likely to use the opportunity to enlarge his stake in the brewer.
Sabeco, also known as Saigon Beer, was listed in 2016, eight years after it was privatised. The company is currently one of the 10 largest businesses in the country by market capitalisation. It had recently appointed Neo Gim Siong Bennett, a former senior executive at ThaiBev subsidiary F&N, as CEO.
Vietnam is proposing to remove the 49 per cent foreign ownership limit in its listed firms. Under current legislation, if a company wishes to remove overseas holding limit, it must seek approval from its shareholders. Dairy firm Vinamilk had announced a similar move in 2016. The company counts ThaiBev subsidiary F&N and Jardine Cycle & Carriage among its largest shareholders.
According to a report on Dealstreetasia