Vietnam: Prime Minister urges Carlsberg to expand investments

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc wants to speed up the privatization process of Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Company (Habeco), the second state owned brewer which is set to be sold within one year.  On the sidelines of a meeting at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018 in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi he talked to Carlsberg’s CEO Cees’t Hart, as was reported on Wednesday by Nhan Dan, the central organ of Vietnam’s communist party. PM Phuc proposed that both sides should soon discuss and deal with the existing problems to accelerate the share purchase and strategic cooperation contract. Carlsberg currently holds 17.34 percent of Habeco and wants to acquire a majority stake in Vietnam’s third largest brewing company. The communist regime, however, wants to restrict foreign ownership to 49 percent. (inside.beer, 8.9.2017) ‘t Hart said last week that Carlsberg is now in a strong financial position and expressed his intention to do more acquisitions. (inside.beer, 6.9.2018)

PM Phuc urged Mr. ‘t Hart to expand its investment in Vietnam. He suggested the Danish brewer to increase production to the full designed capacity at its plant in Phu Bai, in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. In January 2016, Carlsberg inaugurated a new canning line at the plant with a production capacity of 60,000 cans per hour. The investment of almost €6.4 million was the latest major investment by Carlsberg in the socialist country.

The government leader added that Vietnam is further pursuing its path of divestments in state-owned industries and is accelerating the signing of the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UVFTA), which will open up favorable conditions for enterprises on both sides, including those from Denmark.

Last December, Vietnam sold in an auction a 54 percent stake in Vietnam’s leading brewery Sabeco at a record price of $4.84 billion. Buyer was Vietnam Beverage Company, Vietnam’s local unit of Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) from Thailand. (inside.beer, 18.12.2017). Several other international companies including AB InBevKirin HoldingsAsahi Group Holdings and San Miguel also showed interest in Sabeco (inside.beer, 1.8.2017) but stayed away from the auction because of the restrictions in majority ownerships by foreign companies.

Carlsberg has been present in Vietnam since 2007 and promotes brands like Carlsberg, Tuborg, Huda Gold, Huda and Halida. Habeco’s main brands are Truc Bach and Hanoi Beer.

 

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