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Asia300

ThaiBev-owned Saigon Beer seeks 50% market share in Vietnam

Following $4.8bn acquisition, brewer to name new management soon

Koh Poh Tiong from Thai Beverage spoke at Sabeco on Jan. 12.

HO CHI MINH CITY -- Vietnam's largest brewer, Sabeco, will aim to grow its share of the home market from around 40% to 50% on the strength of new owner Thai Beverage's retail network, executives from the Thai company said Friday.

Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. held its first corporate meeting here following the $4.8 billion acquisition by its Thai rival, known for Chang beer, in December. Executives at the Thai group addressed Sabeco employees for the first time as the majority shareholder.

ThaiBev is the flagship business of TCC Group, led by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the self-made billionaire widely regarded as Thailand's king of mergers and acquisitions.

Koh Poh Tiong, chairman of board executive committee of Singapore-based Fraser and Neave, another beverage maker under TCC Group, told the gathering that Sabeco products will be delivered all across Vietnam, leveraging the Thai group's existing retail network of supermarkets and convenience stores.

Koh also said the group's backing will help Sabeco expand beyond beer into such markets as soft drinks and spirits. He also stated his ambition to tap regional markets such as Thailand and Singapore on the back of the group's hotel network.

At the meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, a source from Sabeco told the Nikkei Asian Review that the company will hold its annual general meeting within the next four months to appoint new board members. As ThaiBev now has more than 53% ownership, TCC Group intends to raise its number of board members from four to around 10. New management will be decided.

Sabeco Chairman Vo Thanh Ha set out the brewer's targets for 2018. The company aims to lift its domestic market share to 42% and boost output to 1.84 billion liters, up from 1.78 billion liters in 2017. It targets revenue of 39.3 trillion dong ($1.73 billion) and net profit of 4.9 trillion dong, year-on-year increases of 11% and 2%, respectively.

Before Friday's event, Sabeco launched its Saigon Gold line, marking a further step into a premium segment currently dominated by foreign brands like Sapporo, Heineken, Tiger and Budweiser. At the event, Koh also voiced support for Sabeco's reaching 2 billion liters in output after 2018 and increasing its presence in both domestic and overseas markets.

(Nikkei)

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