Heineken sold on Thursday nearly 5.2 million shares equivalent to an approximate 0.81 percent stake in Vietnam’s leading brewer Sabeco. The price of VND1.219 trillion (USD 53 million) was paid by investors, whose identity were not disclosed. With the remaining stake of 4.32 percent, which is held by Heineken, its regional subsidiary Heineken Asia Pacific, and related companies, the Dutch brewing group has lost its status as a “large shareholder”.
The shares became redundant to Heineken after Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) secured in an auction in December 2017 a controlling stake of nearly 54% in Sabeco (inside.beer, 18.12.2017).
Heineken was already shareholder in Sabeco since 2008 but finally did not succeed in the auction when Sabeco was privatized in 2017 because ThaiBev was willing to pay a record price of USD 4.84 billion.
Currently, Sabeco is owned 53.59 percent by Vietnam Beverage, a subsidiary of ThaiBev and 36 percent by the Vietnamese government, represented by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
However, despite not being successful at the auction, Heineken comes already second in the Vietnamese beer market with a share in the beer market share of 23 percent, after Sabeco with 40.9 percent.
In June, Leo Evers, at that time Managing Director of Heineken Vietnam, announced ambitious plans. “We aim for the No. 1 position, not only in profit but also in volume,” Evers said in an interview with Reuters. Heineken Vietnam's turnover has grown at a double-digit rate over the last four years, and the country is Heineken’s second largest source of profit after Mexico. Analysts estimate that Vietnam accounts for more than 10% of the EUR 3.87 billion (USD 4.3 billion) Heineken earned last year (inside.beer, 5.6.2019)