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JAPAN/VIETNAM: Asahi Sabeco tie-up talk emerges again

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Asahi Breweries is moving nearer acquiring a stake in Vietnam's Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. (Sabeco), according to reports.

The Dau Tu newspaper in Vietnam claimed today (8 March) that the Japanese firm met with the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Nam Hai, in Hanoi last week.

Sabeco is also reportedly discussing a stake sale with Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken and Thai Public Beverage Co (ThaiBev).

The news comes almost two years after speculation linking Asahi to Sabeco. In April 2008, Kyodo News reported that the Japanese brewer was close to buying a 10% stake in the state-owned company, although these reports came to nothing.

A move for Sabeco would be in keeping with the strategy of other Japanese brewers, keen to extend operations beyond their flat domestic markets. In May last year, Kiring Holdings completed its purchase of a 48% stake in Philippines-based San Miguel Brewery.

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