VietNamNet Bridge – Two companies from Thailand and Singapore, willing to buy state shares in Vinamilk, the nation’s leading dairy producer, belong to one powerful owner.

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Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the second richest billionaire in Thailand

Local newspapers quoted sources as reporting that Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the second richest billionaire in Thailand, wants to buy as many Vinamilk stakes as possible in the first sale campaign.

The billionaire is the owner of ThaiBev, the owner of Chang beer brand in Thailand, and Fraser & Neave, a drink manufacturer in Singapore well known for F&N brand.

ThaiBev does not hold Vinamilk shares. However, with the purchase of F&N, all of the Vinamilk’s shares owned by Singaporean beverage company have fallen into the hands of the Thai billionaire.

The billionaire has an ambitious plan to conquer the Vietnamese market and never makes any secret of it. He wants to hold power in Vinamilk and penetrate the Vietnamese beverage market through the large distribution network built up over tens of years by Vietnam’s leading dairy producer.

Charoen also intimated that he is willing to spend $1 billion to buy Sabeco stakes when the government divests from the brewer.

Two companies from Thailand and Singapore, willing to buy state shares in Vinamilk, the nation’s leading dairy producer, belong to one powerful owner.

In 1991, he joined forces with Danish Carlsberg to penetrate the Thai beer market which was then dominated by Boon Rawd, the brewer that made Singha brand beer.

Just three years later, he launched his own beer into the market – Chang beer. Within five years, Chang beer accounted for 60 percent of the domestic market share, becoming the symbol beer brand for Thailand.

However, the 72-year-old billionaire not only targets the domestic market. With the successful takeover of Singaporean F&N, and possibly Vietnamese Vinamilk and Sabeco in the future, he may become the most influential power in South East Asia in bottled drink manufacturing.

As for Vinamilk, local newspapers quoted a Ministry of Finance’s official as describing Vinamilk as a ‘beautiful girl’, meaning that Vinamilk is a profitable company that many investors want.

Forbes also commented that Vinamilk, from a condensed milk producer with just two factories, has become a large corporation with market capitalization value of $9.4 billion and an attractive business in investors’ eyes.

Vinamilk has for the first time found its name on Forbes’ list of top 50 companies in Asia (Fab 50). It is also the first Vietnamese business which found its name on the list of Asian leading businesses released annually by Forbes since 2005. 

Fiachra Mac Cana, managing director of Ho Chi Minh Securities, said Vinamilk is dominating the market with 92 million people through a dense distribution network. In order to build up such a large distribution network, its rivals will have to accept losses for 10 years.

Kim Chi

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