The sale process for Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp., or Sabeco, would kick off in April, said Phan Dang Tuat, head of Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Enterprise Reform Commission, confirming that the government has invited banks to pitch.

Vietnam’s Communist government has renewed its efforts to open its economy to foreign investment, partly by relaxing strict ownership limits and selling stakes in government companies. While foreign investors have welcomed these moves, Vietnam’s rulers have a history of underdelivering on such policies. The government has delayed selling a portion of its 90% stake in Sabeco several times in the past few years. Investors say government officials have little experience dealing with private investors and fear selling assets too cheaply.

Vietnam, a fast-growing economy with a population of more than 90 million, is seen as a promising frontier market by foreign investors. It benefits from a young population and a booming export sector that is taking business from higher-cost countries, particularly China.

Mr. Tuat’s department oversees the restructuring of state-owned enterprises including companies such as Sabeco. He said the size of the stake the government will offload is yet to be decided, but the people with knowledge of the process said the government could sell at least 40%.

Sabeco, whose shares started trading on the Vietnamese stock exchange last week, has a market capitalization of $4.6 billion, making it one of the biggest listed companies in Vietnam.

Sabeco, which sells brands including 333 and Saigon beer, controls over 40% of Vietnam’s beer market. If the sale occurs, it would be the latest in a string of Vietnamese government privatizations.

In addition, the government is looking to sell its nearly 82% stake in another beer company, Hanoi Beer Alcohol & Beverage Joint Stock Corp., or Habeco, which is the country’s third-largest brewer. Habeco isn’t listed on the Vietnam stock exchange.

Mr. Tuat said last week that the government is seeking to move Habeco to Hochiminh Stock Exchange this month from Vietnam’s unlisted public-company market.

Vietnam Dairy Products JSC, the country’s largest listed company with a market capitalization of $8.7 billion, is also up for grabs.

The government—which holds 45% of the dairy company, known as Vinamilk—said Monday that it has sold a portion of its stake to two units of Singapore-listed food and beverage company Fraser & Neave Ltd. for $501.6 million.

The sale of the 5.4% stake in Vinamilk will see Fraser & Neave’s combined stake in the dairy firm rise to 16.35%.

Vietnam’s economy is expected to grow 6.3% this year, slower than a 6.7% expansion last year, and its two stock markets are among Asia’s best performers this year. The main Ho Chi Minh VN Index is up 14.5% year to date. .

By Vu Trong Khanh & P.R. Venkat - The Wall Street Journal - December 12, 2016