Here's why ThaiBev spent a whopping $4.8 bln for Vietnam's top brewer

sabeco thai beverage
Sabeco's Saigon beers are display for sale in a market in Hanoi, Vietnam. Reuters

Brewing group Thai Beverage has won an auction to buy a $4.8 billion stake in Vietnam's top brewer Sabeco.

The deal is considered a crucial step for ThaiBev's billionaire owner Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi as he seeks to dominate Southeast Asia's beverage market.

While global companies including Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Asahi Group had shown interest earlier, expensive Sabeco's valuation doused their interests.

ThaiBev, which emerged as the only major investor to bid for Sabeco, paid a premium to get into Vietnam's $6.5 billion beer market, where a young population and booming economy are an attractive lure.

To solidify its position in Southeast Asia, ThaiBev is seeking to increase the revenue contribution from outside Thailand to more than 50 percent by the end of 2020. The company gets 97 percent of its sales from its domestic operations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of September 30.

ThaiBev, through its Fraser and Neave Ltd. investment unit, also holds a 16 percent stake in Vietnam Dairy Products JSC, the country's biggest dairy.