Vietnam M&A Spotlight - December 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.
M&A in the manufacturing sector
Vietnam’s Politburo has issued Resolution 50-NQ/TW to improve the quality and efficiency of foreign direct investment until 2030 (Resolution 50). Resolution 50 shifts the FDI focus from quantity to quality by giving priority to projects using the latest technology, projects that are environment friendly, projects that have a higher spill-over of technology and skill-sets into local business, and projects with more links with domestic Vietnamese businesses.
Resolution 50 requests licencing authorities (i) not to approve the expansion or extension of any manufacturing projects that are using obsolete technology, potentially causing environmental pollution; and (ii) to increase standards, and technical requirements with regards to environmental protection, natural resource protection/energy efficiency, all to levels commensurate with regional and global standards.
As a result of these new, more selective policies, foreign investors may face some challenges to obtain an M&A approval from the relevant authorities if they wish to acquire a project in the manufacturing sector. Local authorities may ask acquirors for more explanations about the technology, machinery, labour use, source of input materials, product markets, and environmental protection of the company being acquired.
- Packaging. TCG Solutions Pte, a subsidiary of Thai conglomerate Siam Cement Group has announced its intention to purchase 94.11 per cent stake in Bien Hoa Packaging, which currently does not have a foreign ownership limit. Source: Hanoi Times
- Reshuffling the cards. British insurer Aviva is to sell its Vietnamese business to Canadian insurer Manulife, as it pushes ahead with plans to pull out from its non-core markets and to focus on its key markets of Britain, Ireland and Canada. Aviva sold a majority holding in its Singapore business in September and also completed the sale of its Hong Kong joint venture. Source: Reuters
Pharmaceuticals and healthcare
- Very hot sector. A majority stake in Family Medical Practice (FMP), a Vietnam-based healthcare service provider, is said to be on sale in a process run by PwC. Potential buyers could include general hospital operators or financial institutions. Besides FMP, several healthcare services providers have been on the market such as Vietnam’s FV Hospital which was said to be reviewing a plethora of strategic options to provide an exit route to its existing investor Quadria Capital. Source: Deal Street Asia
- Mobile sector. The Finnish Pyn Elite Fund has divested capital from Mobile World Investment JSC (MWG), and transferred more than 6.45 million shares to JP Morgan Securities PLC. MWG was previously Pyn Elite’s largest investment for many years, but the foreign fund has sold a large amount of its MWG shares since the end of 2019. Source: Bizhub
- Sunshine. Thailand-based logistics giant WHA Corporation is planning to acquire a solar farm and a tap water business in Vietnam next year once the Thai government eases travel restrictions. Source: Vietnam News
- More sunshine. Thai energy firm Gunkul Engineering has acquired the 50MW Phong Dien 2 solar power plant in the central Thua Thien Hue province for US$39.9 million. The plant is set to begin commercial power generation on 15 December with a feed-in tariff of 7.09 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour for 20 years. The acquisition is a part of the company’s plan to expand in Southeast Asia in the renewables sector, which it says has low risks and high growth potential. Source: Vn Express International
- Not a deep dive. JFE Engineering Corporation from Japan has signed an MoU for business alliance with Binh Duong Water Environment JSC (BIWASE) and acquired 3.87 per cent stake at an auction held on 6 October at HOSE. BIWASE is a leading water supply and environmental service company in Vietnam, having eight water treatment plants and a waste disposal site in Binh Duong province. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
- Water power. Toyota’s trading arm, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has bought a 35 per cent stake in Northern Electricity Development & Investment JSC No.2, a subsidiary of Vinaconex (ND2). ND2’s major undertakings include the development and management of the 72MW Ngoi Phat hydropower plant in Lao Cai province. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
- Nibelungen saga. Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials Corporation has acquired a 10 per cent stake in a mining subsidiary of Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group for US$90 million and become the second largest shareholder. The two companies also wrapped up a strategic alliance in the tungsten industry after the deal. Source: Vietnam News
- Exit stage left. Vietnam Investment Group announced on 17 December 2020 that it has successfully sold its entire holding of 42.87 million shares of the logistics firm Gemadept, equivalent to 14.44 per cent through an affiliated investment fund Vietnam Investment Fund II. Information about the new investor has not been disclosed. Source: Vietnam News and Bao Moi (available in local language only)