Vietnam firms again dream of listing on foreign stock exchanges

By Dat Nguyen   April 22, 2021 | 04:20 pm PT
Vietnam firms again dream of listing on foreign stock exchanges
Labourers work at Vinfast auto plant on the occasion of its opening ceremony in Hai Phong city, Vietnam June 14, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnamese companies are once again contemplating listing abroad amid their growing demand to raise funds and hopes of popularizing their brands’ globally.

Recent reports that companies like VinFast and Bamboo Airways are considering listing their shares in the U.S. show they have achieved a certain level of maturity and want to establish their brands globally, Le Dat Chi, deputy department head of the School of Public Finance, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, said.

Vietnam’s largest private company, Vingroup, is reportedly considering an initial public offering of shares in its auto subsidiary VinFast in the U.S. to raise around $2 billion, the largest ever IPO by a Vietnamese company.

VinFast, the country’s first indigenous automaker, is seeking a valuation of at least $50 billion after listing.

Startup airline Bamboo Airways is considering raising $200 million in an IPO in the U.S. by offering a 5-7 percent stake, possibly in the third quarter this year.

"There is a much higher chance of raising $2 billion in a trillion-dollar market than in Vietnam where the market is smaller," Chi told local media.

Listing shares on major foreign stock exchanges is something many companies in Vietnam have attempted to do but few succeeded.

Companies have articulated plans in the past too to list abroad.

Dairy giant Vinamilk in fact received approval in 2008 to list on the Singapore Exchange, but it changed its mind in 2011 and decided to list in Vietnam instead.

Internet and technology company VNG signed a memorandum with the U.S.’S tech-heavy Nasdaq Stock Market in 2017, but proceeded no further.

Several companies like real estate developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai, fuel distributor Petrolimex, budget airline Vietjet, and securities firm SSI have spoken about about listing in Singapore, Hong Kong and London, but not gone ahead with it.

Ho Quoc Tuan, a senior lecturer at the University of Bristol, the U.K., said developed markets have higher transparency requirements for listing than Vietnam, and many Vietnamese companies fail to meet their requirements in terms of revenues and profits.

Hanoi infrastructure company Cavico Corp in 2009 became the first Vietnamese company to list on Nasdaq, but was delisted two years later due to delays in filing financial reports.

But other analysts were more optimistic about the proposed listings.

Nguyen The Minh, director of analysis at brokerage Yuanta Vietnam, said investors in the U.S. and Europe would find a Vietnamese company unusual and look at Vietnam with new eyes.

This could open up more opportunities for other Vietnamese companies to issue shares and bonds to international investors, he added.

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