Vinamilk set to seek new investors

Related tags Middle east Southeast asia Vietnam

Vietnam's biggest dairy, commonly called Vinamilk, is set for a
change of ownership, after the government revealed plans to reduce
its controlling stake in the company.

The government currently holds 50.01 per cent of the listed firm's capital, amounting to VND1.59 trillion ($100 million).

But in official documents released last week, the state said that it would cede some of its control.

Vinamilk is still waiting for the government to elaborate on how much of its shares could be sold to investors but the firm told reporters that it had already planned to issue shares to raise capital for its investment projects.

Investors are likely to jump on further opportunities to benefit from Vinamilk's strong growth.

The company controls approximately 40 per cent of Vietnam's fast-growing milk market and also produces drinking yoghurt and condensed milk.

According to industry analysts Euromonitor, the dairy sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Vietnam's packaged food category, with 2005 sales (in current value terms) expected to reach VND4.3 trillion (€2.1 billion).

Vinamilk has increased revenue from exports by 24 per cent in the first six months of the year to US$24.7 million with sales to Australia, Africa and the Middle East as well as traditional markets such as the US, France, Germany, Russia, China, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

It also plans to build a beer plant in Vietnam together with SABMiller.

Vietnam is hoping to become a member of the WTO by the end of the year and must therefore loosen restrictions on foreign investment to meet commitments to join the trade organisation.

The country has previously proved an attractive target for overseas investors, with its favourable location helping it secure lucrative exporting contracts to the Middle East and Australia, in addition to the US and the rest of south-east Asia (particularly Cambodia).

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