COPENHAGEN Nov 12 Danish brewer Carlsberg
has been given the all clear by Vietnamese
authorities to increase its stake in Vietnamese brewer Habeco to
30 percent, a company spokesman told Reuters on Monday.
Carlsberg, the world's fourth-largest brewer, bought 16
percent in state-owned Habeco for 600 million Danish crowns
($102.25 million) in 2008.
In 2009 it signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim
of increasing the investment to 30 percent.
"We expect to have it finished before the year-end. We have
been told that we can proceed with the process, a process that
has been stalled for a long time," said Carlsberg communications
director Jens Bekke, without giving more details.
The stake will cost about $72.4 million, Vietnamese
newspaper Dau Tu, which is published by Vietnam's Ministry of
Planning and Investment, reported. Carlsberg declined to comment
on the price.
The brewer has been in Vietnam since 1993 and the country is
seen as a key market in fast-growing south-east Asia.
Asia accounted for 18 percent of Carlsberg's total sales
volume last year and 12 percent of its operating profit.
In October, Carlsberg said it was taking full control of
Vietnam's Hue Brewery, buying the 50 percent it did not already
Carlsberg's market share is roughly 33 percent in Vietnam
and it sells beer under the Halida, Huda, Ha Long Hanoi and Viet
Ha Bia Hoi brands as well as the Carlsberg brand.
($1 = 5.8682 Danish crowns)
(By Johan Ahlander and Teis Jensen; Editing by Helen