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ThaiBev refutes media reports on plans to sell Vietnam businesses

THAI Beverage Public Co (ThaiBev) is disputing news reports that it is seeking a buyer for its businesses in Vietnam, the mainboard-listed company said in a Friday bourse filing after the market close. 

ThaiBev said that the claim, made in recent reports by news media in Vietnam, is “entirely without merit”. A key pillar of ThaiBev’s Vietnamese business is Sabeco (Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation), in which the SGX-listed company had successfully bid for a majority stake back in 2017. 

“ThaiBev remains fully committed to realising the full potential of its core businesses in Vietnam, in particular Sabeco, and aims to solidify its position as the largest beverage company in South-east Asia and a leader in beer,” the company said in its filing. 

ThaiBev is nonetheless exploring a potential listing of its beer business, among other potential avenues to “optimise its asset portfolio and enhance shareholder value”, the company said.

It added that “in view of the current market and economic conditions, any potential listing will be reviewed and evaluated at an appropriate time, when the global economic situation and outlook has improved”. 

ThaiBev expressed gratitude that Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued clarifications regarding the news reports. The company highlighted that Sabeco grew its net sales by 5 per cent in 2018 and reported a 22 per cent net profit growth last year, “despite being impacted by inaccuracies and false claims in certain news articles last year”. 

Last December, The Financial Times reported that analysts see ThaiBev’s attempt to spin-off the beer business as “a feint intended to seek a buyer for the company’s richly-valued Vietnamese unit”. 

Shares of ThaiBev closed at S$0.63 on Friday, down S$0.005 or 0.79 per cent.

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