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Vietnam M&A Spotlight - December 2023

Freshfields' Vietnam M&A Spotlight keeps you up-to-date with the key business and legal developments in this sector. Please contact us if you would also like to receive our Vietnam Infrastructure Spotlight, Vietnam Environment Spotlight or Vietnam Competition Law Spotlight.



  • Frozen IPO market in 2023. Vietnam saw just three IPO listings in the first 10 months of 2023, raising approximately US$7 million. The low number of IPOs in Vietnam was reportedly driven mainly by the tightened listing approval process and a higher net-withdrawal by foreign investors as a result of global and local factors affecting market liquidity. These unfavourable conditions, coupled with Vietnam’s falling VN-index performance since the first half of 2022, resulted in IPO aspirants delaying their listing plans. Source: Vietnam Investment Review


  • Hope for de-frosting in 2024. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) is reviewing and amending legal documents to expedite the sluggish pace of equitization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In the year through to October, no SOEs underwent equitization, resulting in a sluggish pace of divestment. The MOF has proposed strict sanctions on those who cause delays and violate regulations pertaining to SOE equitization and divestment. Source: The Saigon Times

Banking & finance

  • Homing in. KBank, KB Kookmin, SCB X are reportedly shortlisted and going into the next round for the acquisition of Home Credit Vietnam, one of the leading consumer finance companies in the Vietnamese market. The valuation of Home Credit Vietnam could be roughly US$700 million. Home Credit hopes to find a buyer by the end of the year. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Funding. Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) has announced that it has received approval from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to contribute capital and buy shares to acquire Viet Cat Fund Management Joint Stock Company (VFC). The acquisition of this fund management company is part of the bank's development strategy for the period 2023 - 2028 and vision to 2035. Source:
  • Halting. Vietnamese lender SeABank has decided not to proceed with a planned sale of shares to the Norwegian Investment Fund (Norfund). The bank originally planned to sell 94.6 million shares, equivalent to 4.63 per cent of SeABank’s total floating shares, to the Norwegian fund, for VND1,216.7 billion (US$50.5 million). Source: The Investor
  • Cutting. The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) is set to significantly diminish its stake in PVcomBank as part of a broad restructuring scheme aimed at adapting to evolving market trends and enhancing its competitiveness. As per the newly ratified plan, by 2025, PetroVietnam is mandated to reduce its ownership in PVcomBank from the current 52 per cent to 15 per cent.  Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Monitoring. At a National Assembly (NA) session, SBV governor Nguyen Thi Hong said that placing five banks under special control was "unprecedented" and it will not be easy to find investors to help restructure them in the post-pandemic context. The banks under special control are Construction Bank (CB), OceanBank, GPBank, DongA Bank and Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB). SCB, which came under special control in 2022, is the most recent case and such a decision came after many of its branches and transaction offices recorded a run-on deposits due to concerns about the bank’s financial health. Source: The Investor 


  • More hospital deals. Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus is reportedly understood to be looking at a potential investment in Xuyen A, a Vietnamese hospital chain with four facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and adjacent provinces. The hospital chain is reportedly planning a fifth hospital in Dak Nong, with a capacity of 700 beds. Source: Deal Street Asia


  • Dairy. Japan’s multi-sector business Sojitz Corporation has acquired ownership of Dai Tan Viet JSC (i.e. New Viet Dairy), a major wholesaler of commercial foods, food services, and dairy ingredients in Vietnam. With the rise in middle class consumers, Vietnam’s dairy products market is expected to grow. Source: The Investor
  • Farewell. Baemin, the South Korean food delivery firm, has announced its departure from the Vietnamese market, effective from 8 December 2023. This move marks the end of a four-year presence in a market characterised by intense competition and economic headwinds. Source: Vietnam Investment Review

Renewable Energy

  • Scaling up. On 10 November 2023, Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sembcorp Solar Vietnam Pte Ltd, has reached an agreement to acquire majority interests ranging from 73 per cent to 100 per cent in various subsidiaries of Gelex Group Joint Stock Company (Gelex). Through this proposed transaction, Sembcorp will add 245MW of operational renewable wind, solar and hydropower assets to its current portfolio in Vietnam and expand its renewables' presence in the country to over 450MW. The group’s gross renewables capacity will total 12.2GW upon completion of the transaction. Source: Vietnam Investment Review


  • Scaling down. American energy company AES Corporation has reached an agreement to sell its 51 per cent equity stake in Mong Duong 2 coal-fired power plant in Vietnam to the Czech Republic-based Se.ven Global Investments. The move is in line with AES’ intent to offload the majority of its coal assets by the end of 2025 while the acquisition is part of Sev.en Global Investments’ entry into Asia. Source: The Investor 


  • Acceleration. M&A in the logistics sector is being driven by an acceleration in infrastructure investment in Vietnam. Lineage, one of the world’s leading temperature-controlled industrial REIT and integrated solutions providers, has reportedly set up a joint venture with Hanoi-based cold-storage warehouse operator SK Logistics. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Source: Vietnam Investment Review