Last update 11/24/2010 5:15:50 PM (GMT+7)

SABECO is a Singaporean brand?

VietNamNet Bridge – In Vietnam, SABECO has been well known as the brand of the country’s largest brewer - Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation. The products with SABECO brand have been popular not only in Vietnam, but also in the world. However, the brand is facing the risk of being “swallowed” by a foreign company which is the exclusive seller, distributor and marketing partner of SABECO’s products.

A strange contract

SABECO's logo (left) and stamp of SABECO ASIA PACIFIC

On December 11, 2009, SATRACO (SABECO trading single-member limited company), a subsidiary of SABECO, authorized as the exclusive distributor of all the products made by SABECO, signed a principle contract with a foreign partner, Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation (ASIA PACIFIC) PTE LTD (hereafter referred to as SABECO ASIA PACIFIC), based in Singapore. Under the contract, the Singaporean has the right to exclusively sell, distribute and do marketing for four Sabeco’s products in 20 countries and territories worldwide, including Singapore, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, South Korea, Nepal, Buhtan, Pakistan and Brunei.

As agreed, the contract will terminate in five years, and after the period, if SABECO ASIA PACIFIC can fulfill the agreed provisions well, it will get the chance to extend the contract for another five years.

After the contract became valid, on Marc 21, 2010, SATRACO and SABECO ASIA PACIFIC signed an export contract under which 848,085 boxes of beer products will be transferred by SATRACO to SABECO ASIA PACIFIC. The value of the export contract is five million dollars.

The strange thing of both the principle contract and the export contract is not the sale principles or the values of goods, but the trademark of the partner.

Once SATRACO allows Singaporean SABECO ASIA PACIFIC to act as the exclusive distributor and marketing partner of SABECO’s most famous products in 20 countries and territories, the countries which consume SABECO’s products through the exclusive distributor - SABECO ASIA PACIFIC – may all think that the Singapore-based company is the owner of SABECO brand. And once SABECO ASIA PACIFIC registers for brand protection worldwide, the Vietnam-based Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation use of SABECO trademark will be considered as illegal.

Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corporation’s leaders start

In July 2010, SABECO ASIA PACIFIC sent a letter dated July 7, 2010, inviting Vietnamese SABECO to attend the 2010 Asia Beer Festival to be held in Singapore.

On receiving the invitation letter on July 10, 2010, Nguyen Quang Minh, General Director of SABECO was started to see that the inviting partner is SABECO ASIA PACIFIC, and the stamp used by the company bears an image similar to that of SABECO, with only small differences between the two.

Right after that, Minh forwarded the invitation letter to SABECO’s Chair of the Board of Director Nguyen Ba Thi, asking Thi to work with SATRACO to clarify the matter.

Thi was also startled when receiving the invitation letter.

Analysts have warned that the partners who purchase products from SABECO ASIA PACIFIC would think that SABECO ASIA PACIFIC is not the distributor, but the owner of SABECO brand.

Having realised that this is a matter pertinent to boththe nation’s strong brand and the benefit of the State, on August 2, 2010, the committee in charge of managing the state’s capital at SABECO asked involving parties to explain the case and reported it to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

SABECO was established in 1977, after the Southern Brewery Company took over and began managing Cho Lon Brewery Plant from BGI.

In 2009, SABECO sold 895 million litres of products, with the total turnover of 14,956 billion dong and the pretax profit of 1542 billion dong.

The achievements have helped SABECO jump from the 33rd position to the 21st position in the list of the largest brewers in the world. Currently, SABECO is holding 35 percent of Vietnam’s market share.

In 2002, the Vietnam Tobacco Corporation also faced the risk of losing Vinataba brand, when Indonesian Sumatra Company stole the brand in Laos and Cambodia. However, as Vinataba was registered for brand protection, Vinataba could prove its ownership of the brand which was recognized by Lao Government

Cam Quyen