Carlsberg gets approval to increase Habeco stake

December 2012 - Carlsberg gets approval to increase Habeco stake

Carlsberg gets approval to increase Habeco stake

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt visits Habeco

Mid November, during an official state visit of the Danish Prime Minister to Hanoi, the Vietnamese trade and industry ministry informed the Danish government that Carlsberg could increase its stake in Habeco by 13% to 30%, according to the terms of the MoU signed in 2009.  

“We expect to have it finished before the year-end. We have been told that we can proceed with the process, a process that has been stalled for a long time,” said Carlsberg communications director Jens Bekke.

 

Carlsberg currently owns 17.23% of Habeco, following shareholding raises to 15.77% in 2008 and then to the current level in 2010.

It previously paid US$102.25 million for 15.77% and will now pay US$72.4 million for the additional 13% (30.134 million shares at VND50,015 each which is equivalent to the average auction price when Habeco shares were first auctioned in 2008).

As an aside, in 2010 Habeco auctioned 6.954 million shares (3% of its chartered capital) at an initial price of VND32,000 each.

The recent agreement to purchase follows a strategic cooperation deal signed with Habeco in June, under which Carlsberg would gain full access to Habeco’s market and brands and would become the preferred buyer if and when Habeco is approved for full market listing.  However, would Habeco really open their systems to enable distribution of Carlsberg’s brands?  This remains to be seen.

What’s in it for Habeco?

The key to all of this share transfer is that Habeco needs to find a foreign partner to assist it technically and with brand development, especially considering that, in the climate of a fast growing market, it posted a net profit for the first half of 2012 which was down 5.4% year on year.  It may also even have its sights on Carlsberg’s global distribution network.

For Carlsberg?

The real benefit to Carlsberg (in particular in relation to growth of its own brands) only comes once they have a controlling interest in Habeco and it is unlikely that this will happen any time soon, especially considering the current Government jitteriness regarding foreign ownership of sensitive industries.  Nevertheless, the question has already been raised as to when Carlsberg will raise their stake to 49%.  Our sources tell us that this will happen sooner rather than later, potentially even in 2013.

And for the rest of the market?

It certainly seems that 2013 will be an interesting year in the Vietnam beer market considering that Sapporo have caused quite a stir and appear to be going great guns with their eponymous brand, Sabeco have recently replaced all their top team and are still on the prowl for investors, Heineken has just acquired APB and Carslberg are raising their stake in Habeco.  In addition, we know of at least one major company set to enter the market and that’s not even envisioning what must be going on in the Kirin board room.

Cheers!

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