Habeco’s Profit Falls As Malt Import Costs Surge

Hanoi-Beer-Alcohol-Beverages
Corp., a Vietnamese brewer partly owned by Carlsberg A/S, said pretax profit
fell 9 percent in the first half because of a surge in the cost of malt used to
produce beer.

    Pretax
profit at the Hanoi-based brewer, commonly known as Habeco, fell to VND247
billion (US$15 million) from VND271 billion in the same period last year,
according to a statement posted on its website.

    The maker
of the “Hanoi Beer” brand said the price of malt, which makes up 70 percent of
the raw materials needed for beer, rose 40 percent in the first half.

    Increases
in global commodities prices, including the rice and sugar needed for its
products, are hurting Habeco, Chairman Le Ba Co said.

    “Fast
inflation, plus unexpected global increases in prices of food and energy have
put our company in a very difficult situation,’’ Hanoi-based Co.
said in an interview Tuesday.

    “Prices of
just about every raw material have increased rapidly in the first six months.’’

    Vietnam’s inflation quickened to 26.8
percent in June from the same period last year, the fastest pace since at least
1992.

    Prices in
the category that includes rice rose 45.6 percent, the General Statistics
Office said last month.

    The 5
percent decline in the dong this year has exacerbated inflation, by making
imported goods more expensive.

    Habeco,
established in 2003, held its first initial public offering on March 27.

    The
Vietnamese government raised VND199 billion, compared with the VND1.74 trillion
it expected to get, as accelerating declines in the stock market damped the
appeal of new stocks.

    Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index has lost 50
percent this year.

    Carlsberg,
the largest Danish brewer, in April raised its stake in Habeco to $116 million.

    Valby,
Denmark-based Carlsberg said it expects the Southeast Asian nation’s beer
market to expand about 8 percent a year.

 

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