Big international companies buying top Vietnamese brands
VietNamNet Bridge - Strong Vietnamese brands, one after another, have fallen into the hands of foreign international groups, a number of analysts have said. 
Vietnam, strong brands, M&A

In late 2014, for example, Kinh Do Group held an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to discuss the sale of 80 percent of sweets manufacturing division to foreign investor Mondelez International, while the remaining 20 percent is expected to be sold in the next 12 months. With the VND8 trillion deal, Kinh Do has officially quit the sweets market.

In December 2012, shareholders of Prime Group unexpectedly earned big money thanks to the Siam Cement Group (SCG), which spent $240 million, or VND5 trillion, to buy 85 percent of the building materials manufacturer.

In 2013, Do Thi Kim Lien, the founder of AAA insurance, decided to sell the remaining 30 percent of AAA’s shares to Australian IAG Group, though she “could see bright prospects for AAA ahead”.

In early 2015, a Thai retailer revealed that it had bought 49 percent of shares of a Vietnamese home appliance distribution chain.

Most recently, according to Japan Times, Fivimart, owned Nhat Nam, and Citimart, owned by Dong Hung, two well known brands in Hanoi and HCM City, have sold 30 percent and 49 percent of shares, respectively, to Aeon, a leading Japanese retail group.

WSJ has reported that ThaiBev plans to spend $1 billion to acquire 40 percent of Sabeco, the Vietnamese largest beverage manufacturer. Singha Corp, also from Thailand, is also eyeing Sabeco’s shares.

Prior to that, ThaiBev had acquired 11 percent of Vinamilk, the largest Vietnamese dairy producer.

The deals, in the eyes of many people, show the great successes made by Vietnamese businessmen, because they brought big money to the brands’ owners. 

However, in the eyes of many analysts, the deals show the lack of long-term vision of Vietnamese business people, who have sold their best brands to foreigners after many years of building them.

That could be why many Kinh Do shareholders decided to sell shares in large quantities and say “goodbye” to the group, thus causing Kinh Do’s share prices to fall dramatically from VND65,000 per share to VND45,000 within three months, even though Kinh Do bought treasury stocks and offered attractive dividends at 200 percent.

Sources said that Minh Phu Seafood Company, the “shrimp King” with no rival in the international market, may be sold to foreign investors following a decision to delist from the stock market.

A branding expert noted that Vietnamese brands are now absent in many business fields, and that it is foreign brands which are the major players in many fields. He fears that in the future, the rules of the game will be set by foreign players.

Manh Ha
Vietnam, strong brands, MA