Sabeco, the largest brewer in Vietnam, has announced its plan to sell a 53 percent stake held by the government to private investors.
Phan Dang Tuat, chairman of the company, known fully as Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage JSC, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade has submitted the plan to the prime minister for approval.
After the sale, government ownership at Sabeco will be cut to 36 percent.
“All the shares will be auctioned. But we have not decided on a price yet,” Tuat said, as cited by news website VnExpress.
More than 10 investors are reportedly lining up for the shares, including several foreign companies such as Ashahi of Japan, Heineken of the Netherlands, Thai Beverage, the US’s SAB Miller, and three Vietnamese companies.
Only one or two buyers are expected to be selected.
Thai Beverage late last year offered to buy Sabeco at around US$2.4 billion but Tuat said the company is valued more than that, without disclosing a figure.
Some local media reports suggest that the 89 percent stake in the company currently owned by the state is worth nearly $270 million.
Sabeco reported a revenue of VND29.8 trillion ($1.4 billion) in 2014, including a pretax profit of VND3.7 trillion ($172 million).
Vietnam’s beer market is expanding rapidly at around 10 percent per year.
According to market survey company Eurowatch, Vietnamese consumed three billion liters of beer in 2012, or 32 liters per capita, making the country the top consumer in Southeast Asia, third in Asia and 28th in the world.