A file photo of a Sapporo counter at a year-end party in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: kenh14
State-owned tobacco company Vinataba has sold out its 29 percent stake in Sapporo Vietnam to Japanese parent Sapporo Holdings, news website VnExpress reported Sunday.
Vinataba was quoted as saying that it pulled the plug on the joint venture, established in 2010, since the government has ordered state-owned enterprises to divest from non-core businesses as part of its efforts to restructure the public sector.
The sale was worth over one billion yen, or US$8.28 million, news website Nikkei Asian Review reported.
Following the move, Sapporo Vietnam plans to relaunch its locally brewed Sapporo Premium beer with a new taste to better suit Vietnamese preferences and a lower price to increase sales in the country, according to the report.
At $0.66 for a 330ml can, the brand would be in the same price range as other rivals such as Heineken in the high-end market, it said.
Sapporo plans to expand its network of sellers from the current 4,000 restaurants and shops, mainly in Ho Chi Minh City, to 7,000 or so by the Vietnamese Lunar New Year holiday which falls in early February next year.
The brewery, which saw sales grow 34 percent last year, also plans to make its presence in Hanoi, the central city of Da Nang and other areas.
It now runs a brewery in the southern province of Long An near Ho Chi Minh City with a designed capacity of 150 million liters of beer a year, some of which is exported to 12 countries.
Vietnam's beer market was estimated at 3.4 billion liters last year and forecast to grow around 40 percent over the next four years, according to London-based market research company Euromonitor.