Vietnam M&A Spotlight - July 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.
NEW COUNSEL APPOINTMENT
Freshfields Vietnam offices are delighted to announce that Hanoi-based Eric Johnson has been promoted to Counsel from Senior Associate as of May 2021.
Eric has been with Freshfields for more than four years and has greatly contributed to the firm’s continued success in acting for our clients in Vietnam and across Asia.
Eric has extensive experience in advising private equity investors and multinationals on their acquisitions, operations and divestments in Vietnam across sectors and also works with clients across Asia on co-investment transactions and other private fund mandates. Source: Freshfields website
- Pay attention. Global investment firm KKR has announced its investment into EQuest Education Group, an educational services provider in Vietnam. EQuest’s K-12 portfolio serves more than 9,000 students at 8 campuses. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
- Growing appetite. Vietnam education company BHL Education is said to be in talks with investors to raise about US$20 million in a new funding round. Although it raised funding from Heritas Capital in 2019, it is not clear if Heritas Capital has decided to join the upcoming round. Source: Deal Street Asia
- Going in. Japanese mega financial institution Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) has purchased a 49 per cent stake in FE Credit, a subsidiary of private lender VPBank. The total investment was more than US$1.4 billion, making it the biggest investment by a Japanese bank in a Vietnamese financial institution. FE Credit is the largest consumer finance company in the country. Source: Vn Express International
- Coming out. Citigroup has announced that it would withdraw its retail banking division from 13 markets including Vietnam to shift its focus to four wealth centres. The move is a part of the bank’s strategic decision to direct investments and resources to businesses with the greatest scale and growth potential. The bank has not specified when it would leave Vietnam. Source: Vn Express International
- Contemplating. Private lender SHB plans to sell an unspecified stake in a consumer finance company and two foreign branches to foreign investors this year. SHB was said to have received interest from some foreign financial organizations, banks and strategic investors. Source: Vietnam News and Vn Express International
- Choosing. VP Bank has set its maximum foreign ownership limit (FOL) at 15 per cent, with plans to make a private placement to a foreign strategic investor by the end of this year. VP Bank is one of the few major domestic banks that have yet to partner with an international strategic investor. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
- Drinking. The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) plans to divest from 88 companies this year, including its 36 per cent stake in Sabeco, following Decision No. 908 signed by the Prime Minister in 2020. At present, each share of Sabeco is priced at around VND153,000, and the divestment of the State stake in the beer giant would add more than VND35.3 trillion to the State budget. Source: The Saigon Times and Vietnam Investment Review
- Cars and groceries. Vietnamese automaker THACO has reached a formal agreement with E-Mart Vietnam Co., Ltd. to acquire 100 per cent stake of the South Korean-owned firm. Once the deal is completed, E-Mart will stop operating its only retail outlet in Vietnam after seven years, and THACO will take over the E-Mart brand name as a franchise and will pay a royalty to the foreign retailer. Source: Tuoi Tre News
- Chinese Groceries. A consortium led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baring Private Equity Asia Ltd. has invested US$400 million to acquire a 5.5 per cent stake in The CrownX – the consumer retail arm of Masan Group Corp. The deal will mark Alibaba’s first investment in Vietnam and help Lazada, Alibaba’s Southeast Asian e-commerce platform to expand its digital business in the country. Source: Bloomberg
- Homegrown digital retail. Vietnam’s largest homegrown e-commerce platform Tiki has raised US$43.5 million from a corporate bond issuance and plans to raise more capital in upcoming funding rounds. In June 2020, Tiki raised US$130 million in a funding round led by Northstar Group, and Vietnamese media reports say that the company expects more funding rounds and has plans for an IPO with the timeline yet to be revealed. Source: The Asset
Oil & Gas
- Upstream reshuffle - 1. Russian state-owned oil and gas producer Zarubezhneft has agreed to buy out compatriot Rosneft's shareholdings in two offshore exploration and development projects in Vietnam, along with a related offshore gas and condensate pipeline. Rosneft and Zarubezhneft have not disclosed the financial terms of the agreement. Rosneft’s decision to sell its shareholdings in Vietnam are in line with changes in its long-term strategy. These involve focusing on large and capital-intensive greenfield projects in Russia, and selling minor and depleted assets with a high cost base and unclear returns. Source: Upstream Online
- Upstream reshuffle - 2. Spanish oil and gas company Repsol has agreed to sell its operated assets in Malaysia and an upstream block in Vietnam to a fully-owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s Hibiscus Petroleum for a cash consideration of US$212.5 million. The sale of these upstream assets is intended to support Repsol’s broader rationalisation of its global portfolio, streamlining its presence from 25 to 14 core countries. The completion of the transaction is subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions including obtaining regulatory approvals and the waiver of joint venture partners’ pre-emption rights. Source: Offshore Energy
- Windy. Thai electricity power producer Ratch Group has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Nexif Energy BT, the owner of the 80MW Nexif Ben Tre wind power project, for US$8.68 million. This is Ratch’s second wind power project in Vietnam, following its acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in the US$45 million Thanh Phong wind farm in May 2020. Source: Bangkok Post
- New breeze. Hitachi SE’s renewable energy business expanded to Vietnam by signing a strategic cooperation agreement with Trung Nam Wind Power JSC which is currently operating a 151.96MW wind farm in Ninh Thuan province worth VND 4 trillion (US$172.4 million). After the deal, Hitachi SE will own a 35.1 per cent stake in the wind farm. Source: Vietnam Plus
- Woes - 1. Vietnam’s budget airline Vietjet Aviation has received shareholder approval to sell a stake of up to 15 per cent via a private placement and raise US$300 million through an international bond sale to boost its financial position. It has not disclosed the timing or the buyer’s identity. Source: Reuters
- Woes - 2. Vietravel, a leading travel agency in Vietnam, is seeking to sell an unspecified stake in its new airlines, Vietravel Airlines, which began flying early this year. After five months of operating in the aviation sector, Vietravel plans to restructure its airlines in order to prevent losses from being counted against the travel agency’s finances. Source: Vn Express International