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Vingroup plans $300 mln bond issuance for auto, smartphone production

By Minh Son   January 25, 2021 | 02:29 am PT
Vingroup plans $300 mln bond issuance for auto, smartphone production
A VinFast car is tested in a factory in the northern Hai Phong City. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Tuan.
Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate Vingroup hopes to raise nearly VND6.98 trillion ($302.45 million) through bonds to invest in subsidiaries VinFast and VinSmart.

The non-convertible, unsecured 3-year bonds worth VND100,000 each will be accompanied by warrants. They will be offered to the public in three rounds in the first half of this year, Vingroup said in a filing with the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange late last week.

Interest will be paid every three months, with the rate calculated by reference interest rate plus 3.7 percent per year, up to a maximum of 9.7 percent in the first year.

The reference rate is the average interest on individual savings, deposited in VND, postpaid for 12-month term deposits by Vietcombank, VietinBank, BIDV and Agribank. The banks currently offer interest rates of around 4.9-5.6 percent.

Over VND5.1 trillion of the raised amount will be invested in VinFast, the country’s first indigenous carmaker; and VND1.86 trillion in smartphone-maker VinSmart, which launched its first products at the end of 2018.

The first round, worth VND1.52 trillion, will be issued on February 18, where individual and institutional buyers must purchase bonds worth least VND100 billion, and VND500 billion, respectively.

The dates for the second and third rounds, worth VND2.86 trillion and VND2.6 trillion, respectively, have not been announced.

According to brokerage KB Securities, automaker VinFast plans to break even in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and armortization) within the next 5 years by increasing output and increasing market share, as well as reducing production costs.

It posted losses of nearly VND6.6 trillion in the first half of last year.

Vingroup chairman Pham Nhat Vuong had earlier said that both automaker VinFast and smartphone producer VinSmart were expected to make losses for three to five years as they worked to increase their market shares.

The KB Securities report said that VinFast planned to launch two gasoline-powered cars and three electric cars in 2022, and VinBus electric buses this year. It targets acquiring around 30 percent of the domestic car market, and export electric cars.

At Vingroup’s annual general meeting in May 2020, Vuong said that in the future, VinFast and VinSmart would be export-oriented, starting with the U.S. and moving to other markets once certain sales targets had been met.

Vingroup, originally a real estate and retail heavyweight, has grown to become Vietnam’s largest private diversified conglomerate, and now sells cars, scooters, television sets and smartphones. It is also looking to enter the artificial intelligence sector.

Vingroup’s pre-tax profit in the first nine months of 2020, as per its latest financial statement, was up 3.7 percent year-on-year to VND9.73 trillion, but revenues fell 19.3 percent to VND74.8 trillion.

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