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Masan consumer retail platform attracts foreign investment

By May Pham   October 11, 2021 | 01:00 am PT
Masan has announced cooperation agreements with several foreign investment funds amid the pandemic, showing its global appeal.

In May 2021, a group of investors including Alibaba Group and Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) invested a total cash consideration of $400 million for the acquisition of a 5.5 percent stake in The CrownX, a Masan integrated consumer retail arm that consolidates its interests in Masan Consumer Holdings and VinCommerce.

This deal is not only an investment but a strategic partnership between Masan and the investors. Accordingly, VinCommerce would cooperate with Lazada - Alibaba’s South East Asia e-commerce platform - to promote the digital transformation and accelerate the offline to online (O2O) integrated retail market in Vietnam.

In April 2021, South Korean conglomerate SK Group invested $410 million to acquire a 16,26 percent stake in the company holding VinCommerce shares. VinCommerce is the largest nation-wide modern grocery platform in Vietnam through its supermarket chain, WinMart, and minimart chain, WinMart+.

Woncheol Park, representative director of SK South East Asia Investment, the SK Group subsidiary making the investment, said: "We have a strong belief in the potential of Vietnam’s on/off-line retail sector and expect VinCommerce to play a vital role in its modernization. Investment in VinCommerce is a part of SK’s broader strategy of investing in Vietnam’s fast-growing sectors."

KKR - a leading global investment firm - is among the long-time partners of Masan. In 2017, KKR and Masan Group entered into definitive agreements to invest a total $250 million in Masan Group and in its branded meat platform, Masan Nutri-Science (formerly Masan MEATLife).

MEATDeli is the first chilled, branded meat in Vietnam produced by state-of-the-art European processing technology.

MEATDeli is produced using European processing technology. Photo by Masan Group

This was KKR’s second investment in Masan; KKR previously invested $359 million in Masan Consumer. According to Bloomberg, in 2018, KKR raised about $209 million by selling its stake in Vietnamese conglomerate Masan Group Corp., after its shares doubled since the private equity firm invested.

In September 2021, Masan MEATLife announced a plan to restructure the company into independent businesses, including the spin-off of its animal feed unit. Simultaneously, the company will issue bonds worth $300 million to invest in the animal meat business. Specifically, Masan MEATLife (MML) has strengthened its strategic partnership with De Heus to optimize and enhance productivity of the animal protein value chain.

In particular, Masan will focus on the branded fresh-chilled meat business, while De Heus gives priority to providing animal nutrition, genetics and husbandry solutions. The objective is to improve the lives of Vietnamese agricultural labors, farmers and ultimately consumers, who deserve safe meat products at affordable prices.

Recently, Masan MEATLife’s MML stock price reached VND96,000 per share, increasing nearly 90 percent compared to early 2021.

On Oct. 6, VN Consumer MEAT II PTE Ltd (under KKR Global Investment firm) - MML’s shareholder - registered to sell 7.1 percent shares in Masan MEATLife. The purpose of the transaction is to implement a business plan.

Before that, in September 2021, Viking Asia Holdings II PTE. LTD - an organization related to KKR - reported the successful sale of 31.96 million shares in Vinhomes (VHM). After the transaction, the ownership percentage of Viking Asia Holdings II PTE. LTD decreased from 5.5 percent to 4.6 percent, making it a minor shareholder in VHM.

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