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Vietnam M&A Spotlight - March 2023

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 our Vietnam Infrastructure Spotlight, Vietnam Environment Spotlight or Vietnam Competition Law Spotlight.

PUBLICATION – M&A Monitor 2023

The firm has recently published the latest edition of M&A Monitor. In this edition we reflect on dealmaking trends in 2022 and look ahead to 2023. We consider the macroeconomic and geopolitical impact on the M&A landscape this year and focus on the challenges ahead as signs of recovery start to appear. Source: Freshfields website


Bond renegotiations

  • Easing pressure. The Government has issued a decree amending the existing decrees on the private placement and trading of corporate bonds in Vietnam and the offering of corporate bonds in the international market. The new decree, which came into effect on 5 March 2023, allows issuers to extend payments by a maximum two years if holders agree. The decree drops the previous provisions blocking issuers from changing the terms of an issued bond. Source: VN Express International


  • Electricity of Vietnam (EVN). EVN has outlined a restructuring strategy to maintain and grow state ownership and capital invested by EVN in other businesses. The Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) has recently presented the 2021-2025 Restructuring Programme for EVN to the prime minister for approval. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Fly high. Property developer FLC is set to sell its stake in Bamboo Airways as part of a restructuring plan. The company will first consult with financial experts on the sale before giving shareholders more details. The company plans to focus on property development, resorts management and restructuring debt. Source: VN Express International
  • Sky high. Vietnam Airlines, facing the threat of having to delist from the stock market as a result of its losses, is looking for consultants to help it sell a stake in fuel distributing subsidiary Skypec. Source: VN Express International

Capital raising

  • IPOs in the past. There were apparently eight recorded IPOs in Vietnam in 2022. This is fewer than the 13 IPOs recorded in 2021, but mobilised funds quadrupled from US$15.6 million to $71.4 million. The IPO market focus has shifted from real estate in 2021 to industrial and consumer products in 2022. Source: Vietnam News
  • IPOs in the future. A handful of top Vietnamese companies are currently priming themselves to take a leap into the overseas public markets, betting that foreign bourses will prove to be better avenues for capital raising. Source: Deal Street Asia


  • UOB/Citi. Singapore bank UOB has finished the acquisition of Citigroup’s consumer banking business in Vietnam, which includes the transfer of about 575 Citigroup-related staff members to UOB Vietnam. The consumer business includes Citigroup’s unsecured and secured lending portfolios, wealth management and retail deposit businesses. Source: The Investor
  • Weak banks. The State Bank may lift the foreign ownership limit (FOL) at three banks. The State Bank of Vietnam is mulling over lifting the FOL at HDBank, MBBank and VPBank. The trio might receive such a preference from the central bank in return for participating in restructuring some "weak" banks. Source: The Investor
  • PG Bank. Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) has approved a plan to divest from PG Bank. The company will conduct a public auction of its interest through the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE). Previously, PG Bank planned to merge with VietinBank, but the deal failed. After that, HDBank had a merger agreement with PG Bank, but the plan was cancelled in 2021. Source: Vietnam Plus
  • SeABank. The Hanoi-based SeABank, to which International Finance Corporation (IFC) has committed almost US$400 million, will collect shareholders' opinions on approving a private placement of shares to foreign investors. The bank did not reveal the number of shares to be offered. Source: The Investor
  • Sacombank. Sacombank has asked the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) to clarify information regarding the bank’s FOL of 23.63 per cent because the bank may no longer be able to attract a foreign strategic investor if the ratio reaches 30 per cent. Source: The Investor


  • Aviation insurance. A group of shareholders signed a contract to transfer a 75 per cent stake in the Aviation Insurance JSC (AIC) to South Korea’s DB Insurance. The deal is expected to be made by order matching and/or a put-through agreement via the unlisted public company market (UPCoM) from the first quarter of 2023 until the transaction is completed. Source: The Investor


  • Outbound. Vietnam’s top technology firm, FPT, has announced the acquisition of the IT Services division of Intertec International to increase its footprint in North America. Following the success of an initial investment in Intertec in 2021, the move is a part of FPT's global growth strategy and will boost its presence in the Americas. In the next two years, FPT has set its sights on growing its workforce in Latin America to 1,000. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Inbound. U.S. streaming giant Netflix Inc is making preparations to open an office in Vietnam after years of negotiations with authorities and completing a risk assessment. A local office would make Netflix the first major U.S. tech firm with a direct presence in Vietnam, increasingly seen as too lucrative to ignore despite wariness over its stringent internet rules. Source: VN Express
  • Masan. Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group, through its subsidiary The Sherpa, will spend US$105 million to take a 25 per cent stake in Singaporean software developer Trust IQ. This is part of its strategy to create a consumer, retail and technology ecosystem capable of meeting 80 per cent of the essential needs of the Vietnamese people. Source: VN Express International


  • Brighter future. SP Group, a Singapore-based provider of electricity and gas transmission and distribution services, has acquired 100 megawatts-peak (MWp) of solar power farm assets in central Phu Yen province. The company did not disclose the acquisition price. The deals mark SP’s first investment in solar farm assets in Vietnam. It plans to invest and develop 1.5 GW of utility-scale and rooftop solar projects by 2025. Source: The Investor