Shares of the Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation, Sabeco, Vietnam’s biggest brewer, will be offered at an initial price of 320,000 VND (14 USD) each on December 18 (Photo: laodong.vn)

HCM City (VNA) - Shares of the Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) - Vietnam’s biggest brewer - will be offered at an initial price of 320,000 VND (14 USD) each on December 18, it was announced on November 29.

Over 343.6 million shares, equivalent to 53.59 percent of Sabeco’s charter capital, will be on sale, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said.

The sale, aimed to significantly reduce the State’s holding in Sabeco, coded SAB on the HCM Stock Exchange (HOSE), from nearly 90 percent, will be offered via open competitive bidding to eligible investors, in accordance with relevant regulations.

The sale is set to attract great attention from both domestic and foreign investors, given the company’s leading position in the industry.

Truong Thanh Hoai, deputy director of the ministry’s Industry Department, said foreign investors will be allowed to buy up to 247.4 million shares, or 38.59 percent stake in Sabeco. They own 10.41 percent stake currently and foreign ownership is limited to a maximum of 49 percent.

The State’s divestment from Sabeco was accelerated after the Ministry of Industry and Trade asked the HoSE to organise roadshows in Singapore and the UK.

The roadshow in Singapore was organised on November 24 and the one in UK on November 27.

The divestment from Sabeco has drawn great interest from investors, especially foreign buyers. Several foreign breweries have expressed interest in Sabeco, including San Miguel, Heineken, SABMiller, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (Thai Beverage), Japanese Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., and Kirin Holdings Co.

“Sabeco, valued at 9 billion USD at current prices, has received a strong response from potential suitors at an investors’ roadshow in Singapore and London.

“However, the maximum foreign ownership ratio of 49 percent is also an obstacle to foreign investors,” said Deputy Minister Cao Quoc Hung.

Sabeco currently owns 24 manufacturing plants with a total designed capacity of 1.8 billion litres per year, 20 of which are in operation. The remaining four are expected to begin operations in the near future.

The company holds about 41 percent of the nation’s 6.5 billion USD beer market. Vietnam is among the top three beer consumers in Asia.-VNA