HO CHI MINH CITY: Global brewers are attracted to Vietnam not only because it’s one of the fastest-growing beer markets in Southeast Asia, but because they have a unique opportunity to buy their way in as the government prepares to sell off stakes in two state-owned brewers.

Shares in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco) will be sold in three tranches with the first due to start next month. Heineken, AB InBev, Asahi, Kirin and Carlton & United Breweries are among the international brewers which have shown interest.

Sabeco is valued at around $2bn and, according to Euromonitor, commands a 41% share of the local beer market. Heineken is next on 23% followed by Habeco, another state-owned brewer in which stakes will also be sold.

“Beer consumption is now integral to daily life and considered a basic for most consumers,” Euromonitor noted in a report a couple of months ago in which it forecast that per capita consumption would reach 40.6 litres this year.

That would make the country the largest beer consumer in South East Asia. A “strong street consumption culture and rapid urbanization”, alongside brewers’ aggressive promotions and new product launches – Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (TTL), for example, plans to introduce a fruit-flavoured beer, a first for Vietnam – are expected to continue to drive larger volume growth in Vietnam than anywhere else in the region over the next few years.

“There aren’t many markets left that have the growth potential Vietnam has,” John Ditty, managing partner of KPMG Vietnam’s deals advisory unit, told Bloomberg.

Data sourced from Southeast Asia Globe, Bloomberg, VietNamNet Bridge; additional content by WARC staff