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More Thai companies eye Vietnam market

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VietNamNet Bridge – Three months ago, BJC, the group of billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the third richest businessman in Thailand, announced a deal of to take over Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam.

The Wall Street Journal reported that ThaiBev, another company of the same billionaire, is attempting to become a strategic shareholder of Sabeco, one of the largest breweries in Vietnam.

Before taking over Metro Vietnam, BJC swallowed Family Mart after buying all the shares held by the Japanese partner in the joint venture with a Vietnamese company, and then changed the retail chain into B’mart.

Meanwhile, F&N Dairy Investment, in which Charoen’s Thai Beverage holds the controlling stakes, bought 10 percent of Vinamilk’s shares, the leading dairy producer in Vietnam.

Charoen is not the only Thai businessman trying to conquer the Vietnamese market. A series of other businesses from Thailand, including SCG, Central Group and CP have been quietly penetrating Vietnam and scaling up their business here.

“Many Thai businesses show special interest in Vietnam,” said Nguyen Nam Son, managing director of Vietnam Capital Partners.

Son said that his firm is now working on some Thai investment deals and the deals may be wrapped up in several days.

Vietnam Capital Partners succeeded by being a consultant to many Thai merger and acquisition (M&A) deals. One of the best known deals was the one in which The Nawaplastic Industries bought 20 percent of Binh Minh Plastics’ shares and 23 percent of Tien Phong Plastics’ shares in 2012.

Robert Tran, Asia General Director of Robeny, a consultancy group, noted that the political and economic crises in recent years have prompted Thai businessmen to try to expand foreign markets to offset the declines in the domestic market. In following the strategy, the Thais are eyeing the nearest markets, including Vietnam.

The consultant said that when talking with Thai businessmen three years ago, he realized that they not only targeted the Thai 60-million-consumer market, but a larger market which includes 90 million Vietnamese people.

Tran noted that the investment deals made recently by Thai investors mostly related to the distribution sector.

Robins department store, a subsidiary of Central Retail Group, is about to open its first shop in HCM City in some days. CP Vietnam plans to develop 10,000 retail points throughout country. To date, 400 retail points of the group with CP Fresh Mart and CP Kiosk have been set up.

Thailand now focuses on investing in the distribution sector because they understand that once they own strong distribution networks, they will have more opportunities to sell Thai products in Vietnam.

“The Thais have geared up in preparing for Vietnam’s admission to TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) agreement,” Tran said.

Source: http://www.vietnambreakingnews.com/2015/01/more-thai-companies-eye-vietnam-market/

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