TO CELEBRATE its 40th birthday, Vinamilk, a big Vietnamese dairy firm, filmed a children’s choir crooning adorably from the helipad of one of the country’s tallest towers. In truth the company hardly needs to sing its own praises. Vinamilk is probably Vietnam’s most familiar consumer brand, and it is widely considered to be the country’s best-run firm. Over a decade its profits have grown by close to one-third each year.

Hence the interest among foreigners in a 9% share to be sold by the government this year—the first tranche in a disposal which should eventually see Vietnam’s communist government give up its entire 45% stake in the firm. It is one of several big companies which the ruling party now promises to part with; two others are the Hanoi and Saigon beer companies, known as Habeco and Sabeco. After years of divesting mainly small slivers of unappealing enterprises, Vietnam is at last offering foreigners a slice of its best assets.

Vinamilk meets much of Vietnam’s daily demand for dairy products, including four-fifths of its condensed milk (most often found lurking sweetly at the bottom of the country’s famous...Continue reading