Category: Enterprise

Thai F&N to purchase 5.4% stake owned in Vietnamese major Vinamilk for US$500 million

Thai Fraser & Neave (F&N) has made an announcement late on Wednesday, that it has submitted tenders to purchase another 5.4 percent stake in Vietnam’s largest business, Vinamilk.

The Thai beverage firm is expected to pay at least US$500 million for the 5.4 percent ownership stake of 9 percent Vinamilk shares that Vietnam’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) has auctioned. SCIC is present on Vinamilk’s management board as the largest shareholder, having 45 percent of its equity.

F&N is currently already a major shareholder at Vinamilk, owning 10.95 percent. But if the deal is done successfully, the group that is currently controlled by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi will increase the percentage of their ownership in Vinamilk to 16.35 percent.

As per Vinamilk’s disclosure, F&NBev Manufacturing and F&N Dairy Investments, two wholly owned subsidiaries of F&N, on December 7 has simultaneously registered their purchase to the Vietnamese securities commission and the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange where Vinamilk is listed as the biggest stock in terms of market capitalisation, for each acquiring 2.7 percent of the dairy company.

This is the maximum percentage each investor is generally allowed to buy in the forthcoming December 12 share auction, where Vietnam has decided to sell the first chunk of the 9 percent from the state ownership in Vinamilk.

December 12 is also the date where SCIC will conduct the public auction to sell the 130.6 million shares of the US$9 billion dairy company at the starting price of VND 144,000 per piece (about US$ 6.36). This translates into a transaction value equivalent to about US$500 million for F&N.

The method of transaction for F&N’s bids will be conducted via public auction, put through transaction and order matching on the stock exchange between December 12 and 10 January 2017, according to Vinamilk announcement.

Earlier August, Lee Meng Tat, CEO of Singapore-based F&N, has revealed to Bloomberg about Vinamilk being the potential target of the F&N Group in the ambition to expand their market share in Southeast Asia, going up against Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Vinamilk shares concluded Wednesday, trading at VND 132,500, declining VND 1,500, that is 1.1 percent compared with the end of the session the day before.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Singapore private university, SIM to invest US$35.1 million to support entrepreneurs in Platform E

A major Singapore private university, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) is investing S$50 million (about US$35.1 million) into an initiative to nurture future entrepreneurs and help scale startups and SMEs.

The programme for aspiring entrepreneurs which turns ideas into businesses is known as Platform E. It will be operating at a 25,000 square feet co-working space at the SIM Management House in Namly Avenue. The place will also be rented out as a commercial co-working space for non-programme participants.

The industry-agnostic programme will seek to train and equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skill sets, incubate business ideas and help startups develop their go-to-market strategies as well as identifying their product market fit. Professional corporate services, peers, investors, mentors will also be brought on board to facilitate the programme.

“SIM will adopt a multi-pronged approach to eventually includes initiatives to facilitate business startups, help small businesses scale up as well as fund promising ventures,” said a spokesperson from SIM.

Heading Platform E is Mr. Alan Wong and Professor Virginia Cha, who are the chief executive and lead programme developer respectively. Alan Wong is a veteran business advisor who has 20 years of handling both entrepreneurial startups and C-level experience in large organisations such as Cable & Wireless and Huawei Devices. While Professor Virginia Cha is an active researcher, educator, mentor and angel investor in Singapore’s entrepreneurship ecosystem with 32 years of an executive management role in technology companies.

“We believe that any good entrepreneurship programme must help the individual acquire deep business and leadership skills, and more importantly, inculcate in him the fortitude to take on and sustain a long and challenging journey,” says Mr. Alan Wong, “Platform E will equip the entrepreneur not just to run his own businesses but to also take on the role of an intrapreneur within an organisation.”

Platform E will launch in April 2017 and the entrepreneurship programme is not only open to fresh graduates, but also to professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who are seeking a career switch. Existing entrepreneurs who meet with roadblocks are also eligible to apply.

The SIM-initiative will feature two entrepreneurship tracks – IntenseE Track and IncubatE Track which are a 12-months and 4-months programme respectively.

The longer programme is aimed at fresh graduates who are new to entrepreneurship or people looking for a career switch, equipping them with the essential know-hows to ideate, start, operate and sustain a business. The programme offers a full suite of solid grounding and will end with a pitch day where participants can showcase their startups.

On the contrary, the four-months programme is designed for mid-journey entrepreneurs who are stuck at roadblocks or have the intention to scale up their businesses. This programmes is made to impart in-depth industry knowledge and practices and will customize electives according to specific needs.

Commenting on Platform E, the Chairman of its Board of Directors and Member of SIM’s Governing Council, Mr. Tan Choon Seng says, “As we move into a future of ever greater market disruptions, entrepreneurship and innovation will be a key engine of economic growth. Platform E is SIM’s first move to support Singapore’s push in the new economy.”

Besides Platform E, SIM’s S$50 million investment will also go towards supporting promising start-ups mainly at pre-seed and seed stage.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

NetEase, one of China’s biggest game companies is expanding into the Pork business

Chinese internet giant, NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES) which operates Blizzard’s World of Warcraft in China, on top of running a highly trafficked internet news portal is also now expanding into the business of raising organic free-range pigs, after its debut with the auction of three Jeju Black Pigs which are said to have a unique flavor.

NetEase auctioned the three black pigs over the weekend. The bidding for the first pig started at one yuan on November 25 but was in the end auctioned off at an astonishing price of 110, 000 yuan (about US$15,900). The second one fetched an even higher price of 160,000 yuan (about US$ 23,150).

The last one – a 42 kg black pig reared by NetEase was auctioned at a recorded 277,000 yuan (about US$ 40,000) on November 27, heralding the company’s seven-year experiment of rearing quality have finally validated the online gaming giant’s position in the commercial pig farm business.

Looking at this, the animal which weighed more than 42 kg, including shoulder, streaky pork, legs, etc. sees each kilogram worth more than 2,600 yuan (about US$377), which equates or even topped the price to Kobe beef, a famous Japanese delicacy.

However, for NetEase founder and CEO, Ding Lei, producing black pork is more of a public relation effort or social service rather than a profitable business. As the NetEase’s pig farm revenue with its limited production is minuscule compared to its core internet game business.

But if black pork becomes popular in China and NetEase’s pig-rearing business maintains reasonable profits, NetEase may still get a slice of China’s pork market which is worth 1.4 trillion yuan (about US$ 203 billion).

Nevertheless, CEO Ding Lei ultimate aim is not in revenue but rather to revive Chinese livestock-rearing methods and to win the government and consumer goodwill for NetEase. Proposing a science-based production of safe, healthy meat, the company will upload its model and process on the Internet.

NetEase also promises its black pork to be safe and delicious while the rearing process is environment-friendly. The black pigs at the base are fed only natural food, raised for 300 days, kept in green bamboos with smart monitoring.

It is also worth noting that the pigs learn to use the toilet and keep themselves healthy.

“Pigs at our production base use the toilets, sleep in apartments. They never take injections and medicines. In other words, their living habits are healthier than many people,” Ding Lei said, “Besides, they enjoy exclusive feed, which is provided by nutrition experts from home and abroad. I can say that the pigs are happier than pandas except for the fact that they will be eaten by people.”

This would be a long-term investment for Ding Lei, as confident of his pork quality, the NetEase CEO is also planning to establish a gourmet pork restaurant – highlighting his livestock early next year in Zhejiang Province.

Besides, 20,000 black pigs will also go on sale in December and the price will not be as expensive as in the auction, “It will costs roughly between 30 yuan and 40 yuan, depending on the parts of pigs. The price is a bit higher than the price in farmers’ markets and cheaper than the price in specialty supermarkets,” Ding Lei said.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Vietnamese biggest brewer, Sabeco debuts on HOSE with shares jump 20 percent

Beer drinkers in Vietnam may have a little more to celebrate as the local brew – Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage JSC (Sabeco) has officially posted its 641,281,186 shares at the HCMC Stock Exchange (HOSE) under the code SAB.

The shares are traded at the starting price of VND 110,000 per share (about US$ 4.80) and by the end of the first trading day, Sabeco stocks have jumped to its maximum of 20 percent up to VND 132,000 per share.

This news has excited local and foreign investors, many of whom have been waiting for further shares to become available since Sabeco initial public offering in 2008. Both events are considered separate in Vietnam.

Sabeco’s market value has also increased to 83.4 trillion dong (about US$3.6 million). This market capitalization ranked the company as the fifth largest listed firm on HOSE behind dairy firm Vinamilk (VNM), Vietcombank (VCB), Vietnam Petrol Gas Corp (GAS) and the Vingroup (VIC).

Sabeco is the state-owned maker of Saigon Beer and 333 Beer and with this event, the second largest consumer company after Vietnam Dairy Products JSC on the exchange. It’s also the largest brewer in Vietnam, where brewing Vietnam’s biggest labels “Saigon”, has reported a sales revenue of VND 21.8 trillion for the first 9 months of 2016, an increase of 9 percent year on year.

With this listing in HOSE, it will expand Vietnam’s US$77 billion stock market as it increases the size and liquidity of the benchmark VN-index, which is poised for a fifth straight year of gains.

“Sabeco’s listing is a positive and important step for a country that is embracing and liberalizing its own corporation,” said Federico Parenti, a Milan-based fund manager at Sempione Sim Spa, “The listing will be successful because the market is hungry for these type of businesses.”

In fact, seven companies including Heineken NV, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Asashi Group Holdings Ltd. have already registered to bid for Sabeco.

The outlook on Vietnam beer market is an enthusiastic one as demand for beer is expected to continue growing in Vietnam in light of its population increases and the expansion of Vietnam middle class.

VN Express even estimates the thirst for Saigon beer to increase by 30 percent during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, to a projection of 40 million liters of beer.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

China’s Luye Pharma Completes Acquistion Of Acino’s Transdermal Drug Delivery System For US$260 Million

Luye Pharma Group Ltd. (02186.HK), a professional pharmaceutical enterprise focused on R&D and manufacture of innovative pharmaceutical products has announced the completion of its acquisition of the transdermal drug delivery systems (TDS) business, Acino which is located in Zurich, Switzerland, according to a press release.

Acino has established itself as a global leader in the niche transdermal markets. The company is said to be one of the largest independent TDS manufacturers in Europe, with a product portfolio primarily focused on higher margin specialty patch categories such as central nervous system (CNS), pain and hormone spaces.

Some of the company’s notable commercialized and complex formulations include Rivastigmine, Buprenorphine, Fentanyl and fertility control patch. Post acquisition, Acino will retain the marketing rights to certain of these patched in strategic emerging markets.

The transaction saw Luye Pharma acquiring the TDS business from Acino, through the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Acino AG and Acino Supply AG for an amount of €245 million (about US$260 million).

This acquisition will allow Luye Pharma to learn and adopt practices from the integration of its acquired business. Greatly enhancing Luye Pharma’s developmental efforts in R&D, manufacturing, international registration, and market promotion of new formulation products to international standards.

“As we execute our international strategy, this transaction serves as an important milestone,” says Yehong Zhang, the chief executive of Luye Pharma, “This acquisition will significantly enhance Luye Pharma’s international capabilities and accelerate its penetration into broader therapeutic areas and geographies.”

In addition, the TDS business, with its high-quality factories with EU GMP certificate and certification from the U.S. FDA, will help Luye Pharma in meeting and exceed international standards in production, quality control, and global operations.

At the same time, Acino with its mature sales network and international presence in many developed markets around the world – especially the European region will definitely aid the giant pharmaceutical enterprise to pave the way for its mission of globalization.

The global market sales of transdermal patches reached over 5 billion Euros in 2014 and are expected to hit 6.4 billion Euros by 2020, with a projected compound annual growth rate greater than 4%1. The global market for TDS business is huge with strong growth potential.

It would also appears that Luye Pharma is leveraging its growth on M&A as Luye Pharma has also previously acquired Healthe Care Australia in April this year for an undisclosed amount. Acino, which acquisitions has begun since July is, in fact, its second acquisition.

Still, Luye Pharma, the leading Chinese pharmaceutical enterprise will continue to serve and promote human health through professional technology, especially when the China mainland is an emerging market which is facing the challenges of an aging population that are accompanied by potential patients of chronic diseases, which represents a substantial market for TDS. At present, there are currently 260 million people suffering from chronic diseases in China.

Despite that, the company is moving forward and working to develop Luye Pharma into one of the most respected leading global pharmaceutical enterprises in the world. The enterprise, since inception, has adopted innovation, being one of the pioneering Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises to have conducted clinical trials in international markets. Luye Pharma currently has 5 innovative products at various stages of clinical research with significant breakthroughs in the U.S.

On a similar note, Luye Pharma is backed by CITIC Private Equity, which 5.92% ownership of Luye Pharma Group remains unchanged since 2014, according to the company’s 2015 annual report.

For more information, please visit

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Scroll to top