Government officials in Vietnam have given the green light to Scottish & Newcastle's plans to build a greenfield brewery in the country.

The UK's largest brewer is planning to enter the fast-growing Vietnamese beer market through a venture with the state-owned Vinataba group. The greenfield site will be west of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam's Long An province.

An S&N spokesman said today (2 March): "It's a good greenfield site with a strong local partner. It's a low-cost entry into a fast-growing market."

The spokesman declined to give further details on S&N's plans in Vietnam, which has attracted a number of the world's brewing giants.

Last year, SABMiller set up a joint venture with Vietnam's leading dairy group, Vinamilk. Meanwhile, Asia Pacific Breweries, Heineken's partner in Asia, controls five breweries in the country.

Carlsberg holds around 10% of the beer market through its investments in two local brewers. The Danish brewer is also looking to buy a 10% stake in Habeco, Vietnam's second-largest brewer. The Vietnamese government is looking to sell 24% of Habeco, with a 10% shareholding being made available to a strategic investor.

Local brewer Saigon Brewery remains the market leader in Vietnam, where beer consumption is growing at about 8% a year.