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Vietnam M&A Spotlight - March 2021

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.



  • More gain than loss. A potential rise in mergers and acquisitions is sparking concerns that local firms will lose competitiveness by selling themselves to foreign investors. However, foreign investment into local Vietnamese businesses should be viewed as a positive trend that increases competition and benefits the domestic business community as a whole. Source: Vietnam Investment Review


  • Cashless society. Vietnam’s biggest e-wallet company MoMo has raised at least $100 million from six global investors, including Warburg Pincus, as part of plans to become a “super-app” and go public by 2025. Financial technology, one of the attractive investment areas in the country, has gained more traction during the Covid-19 pandemic, with retail moving online and consumers looking for more contactless payment options. Source: Reuters


  • Healthy numbers. A consortium led by Singapore sovereign fund GIC has acquired a minority stake in Vietnam-based private hospital operator Vinmec for 4.7 trillion dong (US$203 million). Vinmec currently operates seven hospitals and five clinics across Vietnam. Source: Deal Street Asia


  • Mobile talk. It was reported in January that South Korea’s LG Electronics intended to sell of its smartphone manufacturing business in Vietnam to Vingroup. However, its recent attempt has fallen through as Vingroup’s offer was lower than expected. LG will move on to find another buyer in order to withdraw from the smartphone business and to concentrate on other areas such as electric vehicle components. Source: The Korea Times


  • High time. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest beer maker, has completed its merger in Vietnam with SAB Beer after receiving approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Vietnam, with a population of nearly 98 million, is seen as one of the most attractive markets in the region for brewers, with beer sales growing by about 10 per cent per year on average for 2010-2020. Source: Reuters
  • Low valuation. Thai Bev has revived plans to list its regional beer assets through a Singapore IPO and it could raise about US$2 billion, which is lower than a previously estimated US$3 billion issue in 2019. The listed entity is likely to house Thai Bev’s beer assets in its main markets of Thailand and Vietnam. Source: Reuters
  • Coffee fix. Vietnam’s biggest coffee bean exporter Intimex Group plans to offer as much as a 49 per cent stake to foreign investors this year. The former state-backed company, which is now owned by domestic investors, aims to expand its instant coffee factory and surpass Nestle SA as Vietnam’s biggest instant coffee supplier. Source: Bloomberg Quint


  • Coal still king. US-based AES Corporation has signed an agreement to sell its entire equity interest in the 1,242 MW Mong Duong 2 coal-fired power plant in Quang Ninh province to a consortium led by an undisclosed US-based investor. The new investors will own 51 per cent equity interest in Mong Duong 2, while Posco Energy owns 30 per cent and China Investment Corporation owns the remaining 19 per cent. Source: Hanoi Times 
  • Cold shoulder. Despite Power Generation Corporation 2 (EVN GENCO2) owning substantial interests in several thermal and hydropower plants, 99.97 per cent of it offered at its IPO was not sold. EVN GENCO owns too many member companies and subsidiaries. Buying stakes in the plants one by one will help investors limit risks. Source: Vietnam Investment Review

Oil & Gas

  • More please. Japanese giant energy group ENEOS Corporation has registered to buy 25 million shares of Vietnam’s largest petroleum distributor Petrolimex. The purchase is set to be made from 1-30 March through order matching. ENEOS previously acquired 1 per cent of Petrolimex last September, and JX Nippon Oil & Energy Vietnam, a subsidiary of ENEOS, currently owns 8 per cent stake. Source: Vietnam Plus


  • Still difficult. With a long-awaited restructuring plan, state-owned railway group Vietnam Railways (VNR) hopes for the go-ahead in 2021 to attract private investment. Source: Vietnam Investment Review