Unrestricted foreign ownership at Sabeco approved hinh anh 1Sabeco has been given the green light for unrestricted foreign ownership. (Source: tuoitre.vn)

Hanoi (VNS/VNA)
- The Saigon Beer-Alcohol Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) early this week announced that it received an official letter from the State Securities Commission approving unrestricted foreign ownership at the largest beverage company in Vietnam.

Accordingly, the foreign ownership cap of 49 percent at Sabeco would be removed and the maximum rate of foreign ownership would be 100 percent, 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 percent for foreign investors – holds a controlling stake of 53.59 percent after a 5 billion USD 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 682 billion VND (29.7 million USD).

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 25.5 trillion VND, a rise of 7.8 percent over the same period last year, while pre-tax profit dropped by more than six per cent to 3.3 trillion VND. The company targets to earn pre-tax profit of around 4 trillion VND for the full year, 19 percent lower than last year.

Sabeco holds a market share of 42 percent in Vietnam, making it the largest beverage company in the country. Shares of Sabeco were traded at 245,500 VND each on December 5, a significant drop from 320,000 VND 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.-VNS/VNA