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Vietnam M&A Spotlight - November 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 Environment Spotlight, Vietnam Infrastructure Spotlight or Vietnam Competition Law Spotlight.


Banking and finance

  • Another lifetime investment. Private lender SeABank has signed an agreement to transfer its entire stake at Post and Telecommunication Finance Company Limited (PTF) to AEON Financial Service Co., Ltd., the financial arm of Japanese retailer Aeon Group, at a price of VND4.3 trillion (US$175.4 million). Aeon Group has invested US$1.18 billion in Vietnam, the largest amount invested by the group in an overseas market. It now has six malls in Vietnam and plans to expand the network to 25 by 2025. Source: The Investor
  • Reshuffling – 1. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) is seeking investors for the restructuring of Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), which has been put under special supervision for over a year. Drawing on the assessment report and the proposed restructuring plan for SCB, the SBV is searching for investors to restructure the bank before submitting the plan to the Government for consideration. Source: The Saigon Times
  • Reshuffling – 2. The Vietnamese government requires state-run Petrovietnam to reduce its holding in Hanoi-based PVcomBank to 15 per cent from the current 52 per cent before 2026 to allow Petrovietnam to focus on its core businesses. The requirement is part of a restructuring plan for Petrovietnam from now to end-2025. The group will have to submit a roadmap to cut its stake in the commercial bank under the SBV’s supervision. Source: The Investor
  • Welcome to Vietnam (again). Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) has completed its acquisition of a 15 per cent stake worth US$1.5 billion in Hanoi-based VPBank, making it the largest M&A deal in the Vietnamese banking sector so far. As a result of the deal, SMBC, Japan’s second-largest bank, becomes a strategic shareholder of its Vietnamese partner. Source: The Investor
  • All good things come to an end. After nearly 12 years as a foreign strategic shareholder of Petrovietnam Securities JSC (PSI), SMBC Nikko Securities on 6 October divested all of its capital from the Vietnamese company. The Japanese firm sold 8.9 million shares, accounting for a 14.9 per cent stake in the broker, for VND77.5 billion (US$3.17 million). Source: The Investor


  • Doubling down. The Japanese firm ASKA Pharmaceutical (ASKA) has agreed to acquire shares in Ha Tay Pharmaceuticals (Hataphar) as the result of a private placement. Upon completion of the transaction, ASKA will own 26.8 million shares in Hataphar, equating to nearly 33 per cent of the Vietnamese pharmaceutical company's equity. The century-old Tokyo-based ASKA previously upped its investment in Hataphar in early 2021. Source: Vietnam Investment Review
  • Lucky draw. Singapore-headquartered healthcare provider Raffles Medical Group (RMG) has spent US$45.6 million on acquiring a majority interest in the American International Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. This follows a strategic partnership agreement RMG entered into with My My Trading Services Company, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions and obtaining the relevant approvals. Source: The Straits Times


  • Nonstop turbulence. Vietnam's privately-run carrier Bamboo Airways has announced that it will start halting a series of international routes to South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Australia and Germany in its latest effort to stay afloat. The announcement comes as Bamboo Airways, Vietnam's third-largest airline, undergoes a restructuring of its business. Source: The Investor 


  • On the move. THACO Group is actively engaged in negotiations with foreign investors regarding the divestment of a 10 per cent stake in its automotive arm, THACO Auto. Source: Vietnam Investment Review

Real Estate

  • Repaying debts. Bong Sen Corp plans to sell its stake in Hanoi Daewoo Hotel to repay maturing bonds. Bong Sen also plans to sell stakes in other hotels and property projects in Ho Chi Minh City. Bong Sen was originally a subsidiary of state-run tourism company Saigontourist and was equitized in 2005. Source: VN Express International


  • Fresh investment. U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital has made its first investment in Vietnam, with at least US$200 million in Masan Group, the Vietnamese conglomerate, and could bring in other investors to raise that to US$500 million. The deal is set to boost competition in Vietnam's retail market, as rapid urbanization draws domestic and foreign investors looking to expand or gain a foothold in the country of 100 million. Source: VN Express International
  • Grocery shopping. Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC is among investors vying to buy up to 20 per cent stake in grocer Bach Hoa Xanh from Vietnam's retail giant Mobile World Investment. The deal could value the grocery chain at up to US$1.7 billion. Source: VN Express International

Renewable Energy

  • Windy. Thailand's Ratch Group Public Co., Ltd. has bought a 51 per cent stake in the 29.7MW Ecowin wind power project in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre. The Ecowin plant is the company’s third Vietnamese renewable power project in operation, along with the Song Giang 2 and Coc San hydroelectric power plants, with a total capacity of 49.63MW. Source: Vietnam Investment Review