Vietnamese billionaires ride high on soaring stocks

By Minh Son   April 8, 2021 | 05:00 pm PT
Vietnamese billionaires ride high on soaring stocks
(From L), front row: Thaco Group Chairman Tran Ba Duong, Masan Group Chairman Nguyen Dang Quang, Hoa Phat Group Chairman Tran Dinh Long; second row: Vietjet CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Techcombank chairman Ho Hung Anh; back: Vingroup Chairman Pham Nhat Vuong. Photo designed by VnExpress/Ta Lu.
The six richest people in Vietnam have seen double-digit improvements to their net worth this year, alongside the stock market recovery from a pandemic inflicted slump.

The six - five men and one woman - have a total net worth of $16.7 billion this year, according to Forbes. The net worth of four of these billionaires who made the Forbes list of the richest people in the world last year has risen 23 percent to $13.3 billion.

Pham Nhat Vuong, chairman of the biggest private conglomerate Vingroup, remained the richest man in the country with a net worth of $7.3 billion, the highest in the nine years he has been on the list (starting 2013). This marks a whopping 30 percent increase over last year.

Vingroup saw revenues from hospitality, tourism and entertainment down by half over 2019 due to Covid-19 response measures, including social distancing, business and flight closures.

However, the group still saw strong figures in its real estate business with its subsidiary, Vinhomes, seeing revenue rise 37 percent to VND70.8 trillion ($3.06 million).

Selling its retail business to conglomerate Masan also helped the group avoid annual losses from its VinMart outlets.

Its manufacturing business, comprising cars and smartphones, also saw revenue surge nearly 90 percent as the company sought to claim more market share with its VinFast and Vsmart brands.

The group’s VIC ticker has surged 176 percent from last year’s bottom it reached in March, and in recent sessions it has been the top contributor to the gains of Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of budget airline Vietjet, has a net worth of $2.8 billion, up 33 percent over last year. The company went through a challenging year as flights were suspended and tourism demand plummeted.

Vietjet, however, managed to record a post-tax profit of VND70 billion last year, one of the few carriers in the world that did well without firing its staff.

Its ticker VJC has surged 141 percent since last year’s bottom in July.

Tran Dinh Long, chairman of Hoa Phat Group, has a net worth of $2.2 billion, up 69 percent over 2018. He has benefited most from the stock market as ticker HPG surged 371 percent since last year’s bottom value in March.

The company saw its revenue rise 41 percent to VND91.28 trillion last year, with post-tax profits climbing 80 percent to VND13.5 trillion.

Increased public investment in infrastructure last year helped pump up demand for construction materials, sending Hoa Phat’s annual steel production to a record 5 million tonnes.

Hoa Phat is aiming to develop a second Dung Quat steel complex starting in January 2022 and begin operations about three years later, which could boost its annual revenues and profit by as much as 80 percent over current levels.

Ho Hung Anh, chairman of biggest private lender Techcombank, was on the list of the third time with a net worth of $1.6 billion, up 60 percent from last year.

Techcombank saw its pre-tax profit rising over 20 percent year-on-year to VND15.8 trillion last year, as most lenders were unaffected by the pandemic.

Its TCB ticker has surged 281 percent since the low it reached last March.

Tran Ba Duong, chairman of automaker and assembler Thaco, saw his net worth rise nearly 7 percent to $1.6 billion. Thaco, which is not listed, assembles autos for Kia, Mazda and Peugeot, as well as produce its own vehicles.

Nguyen Dang Quang, chairman of conglomerate Masan Group, has a net worth of $1.2 billion, down nearly 9 percent from 2019.

The group saw revenues surge 26 percent to VND23.3 trillion, last year exceeding the $1 billion mark for the first time, despite consumers’ income being affected by the pandemic. It acquired Vingroup’s retail subsidiary VinCommerce and managed to have it break even by the end of the year.

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