ThaiBev unit confirms interest in Sabeco stake, but no formal bid yet

Brewing group Thai Beverage on Wednesday confirmed unit's interest in owning 25 percent or more of Sabeco, but it is yet to submit a formal bid for the Vietnam's biggest brewer.

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

Brewing group Thai Beverage on Wednesday confirmed unit's interest in owning 25 percent or more of Sabeco, but it is yet to submit a formal bid for the Vietnam's biggest brewer.

ThaiBev's unit Vietnam Beverage has until December 17 to consider whether to place a formal bid for Saigon and until December 18 to submit a bidding price, it said in a statement.

Vietnam Beverage has "not submitted the registration form for participating in the bid, submitted any bid or reached any agreement or decision to acquire a stake" in Sabeco, the company added.

Investors who want shares that would lead to an ownership of 25 percent or more in Sabeco have to inform the local authorities and publicize the information a week before the auction date, according to the rules of the offer.

Foreign ownership in Sabeco is limited to 49 percent. That means overseas bidders can only bid for a minority stake of as much as 39 percent as foreign entities already own 10 percent, Reuters reported.

Thai Bev, controlled by tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, is shaping up as a strong contender, the report said, as it is familiar with the Vietnam system and sees Sabeco as key to expanding outside its home market.

Shares in Thai Beverage last traded at S$0.95 on the Singapore Exchange before the trading halt was requested pending an announcement. The stock has gained 16 percent in an year.

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