New episode begins in Vietnam’s coffee royalty courtroom drama

By Hai Duyen   April 10, 2019 | 05:53 am PT
New episode begins in Vietnam’s coffee royalty courtroom drama
Le Hoang Diep Thao (L) and Dang Le Nguyen Vu (R). Photos by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Vietnam's ‘Coffee King’ has repeated his original demand for 70 percent of the couple's assets, while the ‘Queen’ seeks to overturn the divorce.

A HCMC court affirmed Wednesday that it had received appeals from Dang Le Nguyen Vu, 48, founder, chairman and CEO of coffee giant Trung Nguyen Group, and his ex-wife Le Hoang Diep Thao, 46, regarding its verdict on their divorce case last month.

Thao has appealed against the entire verdict, asking to be reunited with Vu. She has also disagreed with the court's decision to split the couple's shared assets in Trung Nguyen 60:40 in Vu's favor and give him the rights to manage Trung Nguyen empire.

Vu, meanwhile, has appealed against the court's ruling on the settlement of the couple's shared assets and repeated his demand for the split to be 70:30 in his favor.

After a long trial, the Ho Chi Minh People's Court had last month agreed to let the couple divorce with Thao getting custody of the children, and Vu providing VND10 billion ($430,000) per year in child support.

The stocks and cash of the Trung Nguyen Coffee group shared by Vu and Thao, as well as the couple's cash deposits which were valued at VND1.76 trillion ($76 million), was to be split 60:40 in Vu’s favor. The court determined that Vu had contributed more than Thao to establishing and developing the company.

The value of the couple’s combined stake in the group is estimated at over VND5.7 trillion ($245 million).

The court also ruled that since the division of the company’s shares will cause difficulties in managing the company, Vu would buy all of Thao’s shares with cash and the latter will no longer be a Trung Nguyen shareholder.

On the other hand, the couple's 13 properties (buildings and land) will be split equally, the court ruled.

Responding to the court’s verdict, Thao had said: "This is too unfair to me."

Vu and Thao married in 1998. The marriage ran into trouble in 2013 and Thao filed for divorce in 2015.

Thao had previously proposed that she gets 51 percent (VND2.11 trillion or $90.7 million) of Trung Nguyen Investment, a company which owns the majority of shares of Trung Nguyen Group.

She had also proposed that Vu and her each own 15 percent (VND814 billion, $35 million) of Trung Nguyen Group and 7.5 percent (VND43 billion, $1.85 million) of Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee. Thao agreed to give Vu her shares in the other four companies under the Trung Nguyen brand.

But Vu wanted to have 70 percent of all of companies under the Trung Nguyen brand and to buy the remaining shares from Thao in cash.

Trung Nguyen Group is a leading coffee company in Vietnam. It earned revenues of VND3.95 trillion ($170.5 million) and pretax profits of VND681 billion ($29.4 million) in 2017. It has 200,000 coffee stores in the country.

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