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ThaiBev emerges as sole bidder for Vietnam’s Sabeco

ThaiBev has emerged as the sole bidder to buy at least a 25% stake in Vietnam’s biggest beer company, Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco), in a sale worth more than US$2 billion.

Despite earlier interest shown by major beer companies including AB InBev and Asahi Group, ThaiBev is the only company that has registered for a stake of more than 25% before the deadline on Monday, reported Bloomberg.

Vietnam is expecting to raise more than US$4 billion in the country’s biggest stake sale. The government is offering 53.6% of the brewer, though foreign investors are limited to just a 38.59% stake.

Although the closing date for the majority stake has passed, companies seeking smaller stakes can still participate, the report said.

The tepid response from potential bidders might be a result of Sabeco’s high valuation prices as its stock has jumped 58% this year, according to the report. San Miguel Corp. was one of the parties interested in Sabeco, but its president, Ramon Ang, told Bloomberg that the Philippines’ largest company wasn’t bidding because the price was too high.

The country’s growing middle class and youthful population has helped drive a 300% increase in beer demand since 2002, according to Euromonitor. The research company also estimates that the country’s beer market was worth 147.2 trillion dong (US$6.5 billion) in 2016, and its per-capita consumption will reach 40.6 litres (11 gallons) this year, making it the biggest beer consumer in Southeast Asia.

Last month, ThaiBev also purchased a 49% stake in a Vietnamese food and beverage company, Vietnam F&B Alliance Investment Joint Stock Co.

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