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Vietnam M&A Spotlight - April 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.


The Government has issued Decree 31/2021/ND-CP implementing the new Investment Law 2020. This lists 51 sectors where foreign investment depends on satisfaction of one or more conditions (these conditions are to be found at the Government Portal), and 25 sectors which are not open to foreign investors. The inaccessible sectors include:

  1. Trading in goods and services subject to State monopoly
  2. Press; news gathering
  3. Marine fisheries
  4. Investigation and security services
  5. Administrative and judicial services (e.g., valuation services, bailiff services, asset auction services, notary services and liquidator’s services)
  6. Supplying labour overseas
  7. Development of cemeteries for transfer of cemetery plots
  8. Collecting garbage directly from households
  9. Public opinion polling
  10. Blasting services
  11. Manufacturing and trading in weapons, explosives and supporting tools
  12. Importing and dismantling used ships
  13. Public postal services
  14. Goods transhipment business
  15. Trading in temporary import for re-export
  16. Export, import and distribution of goods where foreign investment is not permitted
  17. Acquisition and disposal of public assets from armed forces
  18. Manufacture and trading of weapons and military/armed forces materials or equipment
  19. IP agency and IP assessment services
  20. Setting up and operation of maritime/navigation aids, water zones and maritime routes; maritime/water survey; survey and publishing nautical charts and maritime safety documents and publications
  21. Regulating maritime safety in public water zones and maritime routes; maritime electronic information services
  22. Inspection and certification of vehicles and goods subject to strict safety requirements
  23. Investigating, assessing and exploiting natural forests
  24. Research and use of genetic resources of new livestock breeds before appraisal by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
  25. Tour operation services, except for international tours serving inbound international tourists. ​​​​​​

 Source: The Saigon Times


Sales by the State

  • Muddy assets. Major problems of foreign investment in state-owned banks continue to hinder the process. State-owned lender Agribank has been stuck for years with divestment efforts because its real estate assets could not be valued. Agribank will continue carrying out the equitization task during 2021-25. Source: Vietnam Investment Review

Banking & Finance

  • Walk away. The merger of HDBank and PGBank has turned sour, although the deal received the in-principle approval from the SBV in October 2018. PG Bank has officially stopped looking for a potential suitor and will focus on independent activities instead. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Side effects? Despite lengthy negotiations, Hyundai Card has failed to buy a 50 per cent stake in FCCOM – the consumer finance arm of Vietnam Maritime Commercial Bank (MSB). Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the shareholders of Hyundai changed their business direction in Vietnam. MSB said it is now finalising negotiations with another foreign partner. Source: Vietnam Investment Review 


  • On your masks. Vietnamese drug producer OPV Pharmaceutical JSC is said to be on the block with its shareholders targeting a 100% share sale. Private equity firm Navis Capital Partners is understood to hold a 65 per cent stake in the firm. The company has attracted interest both from strategic players as well as financial investors from Asian countries. Source: Deal Street Asia


  • Mobile but not yet gone. Having decided to withdraw from the market, the South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics is struggling to find buyers for a smartphone factory in Hai Phong city that produces about 10 million mobile devices annually, roughly half of the company’s global smartphone output. Source: Vn Express International


  • Best chocolate. Private equity firm Mekong Capital’s latest fund has invested an undisclosed sum in local chocolate crafter Marou Chocolate Company, one of the first bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate makers in Asia. Mekong Capital said that it would primarily invest in education, restaurants, consumer services, fast-moving consumer goods, and healthcare. Source: Vn Express International
  • Expanding footprint. SK Group has agreed to acquire a 16.26 per cent stake in VinCommerce, a retail affiliate of Masan Group for US$410 million. VinCommerce operates about 2,300 convenience stores and supermarkets, with a roughly 50% market share in Vietnam’s consumer retail sector. Source: Reuters

Oil & Gas

  • Better than coal. An Italian oil and gas company Eni has bought Block 115/09, located offshore central Vietnam. Eni Vietnam has completed the acquisition from KrisEnergy of a 100 per cent participating interest and the operatorship in Block115/09. Eni acquisition consolidates its recent Ken Bau discovery like play. Source: Offshore Energy

Renewable Energy

  • Here comes the sun. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s largest utility company Tenaga Nasional Berhad, has acquired a 39 per stake in a 21.6MW power project comprising five rooftop solar plants in Vietnam from Singapore’s Sunseap Group. The acquisition will serve as a beachhead for Tenaga in Vietnam. Source: Deal Street Asia