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Vietnam M&A Spotlight - October 2020

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 either our Vietnam Infrastructure Spotlight or our Vietnam Competition Law Spotlight.


Sales by the State

  • We plan. Government agencies approved equitisation plans for six State-owned enterprises (SOEs) this year, according to the Ministry of Finance’s corporate finance department. Among the six SOEs, the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises has completed the evaluation of EVNGENCO2. Source: Bizhub


  • Wee provides capital. Vietnam-based fintech startup Wee Capital has raised an undisclosed amount from South Korean VC firm InterVest and existing backer VinaCapital Ventures to expand its business in the country.InterVest, one of the top 10 venture capital companies in South Korea, has entered other Southeast Asian countries before penetrating Vietnam. Source: International Finance
  • We all pay. Indonesian multi-service platform Gojek is understood to have acquired a majority stake in Vietnam-based payments startup WePay – developed by leading Vietnamese communications corporation VCCorp – to secure the license it needs to operate an e-wallet in Vietnam. The size of the deal remains undisclosed. The number of digital payments users has been soaring in Vietnam amid Covid-19. Source: Tuoi Tre News


  • Locked bank. HDBank has just announced the decision to lock its foreign ownership limit (FOL) at 21.5 per cent of its charter capital. Under the current regulations, there is a 30 per cent foreign ownership limit (FOL) in commercial banks in Vietnam. The limit here has been set at 21.5 per cent to reserve room to sell a stake to a foreign strategic investor. Source: Vietnam Plus
  • Locked banks. The current pandemic has not only put mounting pressure on the quality of domestic banks’ assets and profitability but also dampened banks’ cross-border ambitions. VPBank’s Management Board has requested approval from its shareholders to lower the FOL to 15 per cent from the current 22.77; other banks have also reserved room for a foreign strategic investor by lowering their FOL, such as VIB at 20.5 per cent, or Lien Viet Post Bank at 9.99 per cent. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Still open.After the rumour that Thaco intends to buy 10 per cent of Sacombank’s shares, STB’s shares rose to their ceiling price. Source: Vnexplorer

Pharmaceuticals and healthcare

  • Pills. Tokyo-based ASKA Pharmaceutical Co has signed an agreement to acquire a 24.9 per cent stake in the Vietnamese pharmaceutical company Hataphar. In 2019, Hataphar was ranked as the second-largest pharmaceutical company in Vietnam by sales, and the acquisition is part of ASKA’s plan to establish a strong presence in Southeast Asia and use it as a foothold for international business expansion. Source: Deal Street Asia
  • Beds. VinaCapital has acquired a 30 per cent stake in Thu Cuc International General Hospital in Hanoi, one of the first private healthcare companies in Hanoi, with an investment of US$26.7 million. VinaCapital has also invested in Hoan My Medical Corporation and Tam Tri Medical Corporation, which have hospitals in the central and southern regions, and Thai Hoa International Hospital in the Mekong Delta region. Source: Vn Express
  • In fine fettle. Vingroup has rejected rumours about selling stakes in Vinmec and Vinschool, reiterating that they play a crucial role in the group’s ecosystem. In early September, Reuters quoted a source saying that Vingroup is likely looking for partners to buy its education and hospital systems. Source:Vietnam Investment Review and Reuters


  • Call of the wild. A steady increase of mergers and acquisitions continues in the educational sector in Vietnam. As the establishment of an educational institution is subject to many requirements, such as licenses and permits, operational limitations, and minimum teaching experience, M&A deals are the chosen path for foreign investors. Source: Vietnam Investment Review


  • Slim pickings. South Korean food delivery startup Baemin has expanded its services from HCMC to Hanoi, eyeing deeper inroads into Vietnam’s competitive delivery market where Grab and Go-Viet have been dominating. Vietnam’s food delivery market is estimated to have a value of US$38 million this year. Source: Vn Express

Oil & Gas

  • Low energy. Japanese giant energy group ENEOS Corporation (formerly JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy) has acquired 1 per cent of Vietnam’s largest petroleum distributor Petrolimex for an undisclosed amount. ENEOS is linked with JX Nippon Oil & Energy Vietnam, Petrolimex’s second largest shareholder, which has a 8.73 per cent stake. Source: Vn Express