The smiles were wide and the faces full of relief, when Carlsberg’s executive delegation received their new partners from the North Vietnamese brewery, Habeco, at Hotel Sheraton in Hanoi late Thursday afternoon. The two brewery companies met to sign a historic agreement, which is set to make Carlsberg the biggest brewery company in Northern Vietnam. Senior Vice-President Jesper B. Madsen had flown in from Denmark to seal the deal at the ceremony, which was also attended by Denmark’s minister for development corporation Ulla Tørnæs and the Danish ambassador in Hanoi, Peter Lysholt Hansen.
“It’s a milestone for both companies, but a very, very important moment in Carlsberg’s history – both in this region and globally. It is a very big day for us, and we will immediately begin to shape our corporation with Habeco and look more closely at where to start,” said Jesper B. Madsen.
The state-owned Habeco is on the verge of beginning a long privatization process, which will give them a need for a foreign partner to assist with know-how and development of brands and marketing. In return, this foreign partner will get full access to Habeco’s market share and brand values. The North Vietnamese beer company is to the region what Albani is to the Danish region of Fyn, and thus we’re not talking small market shares. Almost 80 % of all beer being sold in the economically booming Northern Vietnam is brewed by Habeco.
Defeating Heineken and Budweiser
Carlsberg has worked on landing this deal for over a year and a half, but so had the two big competitors, Budweiser and Heineken, which is already solidly in control of the market in Southern Vietnam. In agreement with Vietnam’s ministry of industry, Habeco chose the Danish brewery company – most likely because Carlsberg in their production puts great emphasis on two local beer-brands, Halida and Hud, which currently make up more than half of Carlsberg’s total market share of 10 % in the north – similar to approximately 100 million liters per year.
“I can promise the Vietnamese government and Habeco that Carlsberg will not spare any resources in the future, when it comes to living up to the responsibility you have given us. We think it has taken Habeco a little too long to decide, but I guarantee you that you will not regret choosing Carlsberg,” Jesper B. Madsen said in his speech at the ceremony.
Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Industry shared Carlsberg’s satisfaction with the strategic corporation deal.
“In my eyes, Habeco is a beautiful Hanoi girl and Carlsberg a very strong Danish man. Together they will make a good couple,” said Nguyen Xuan Thuy.
Next on the agenda, Habeco is set to be introduced on the stock market – with Carlsberg as the natural first buyer.