Singapore state fund invests in Vietnam

GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has made huge investments in large Vietnamese firms such as VinHomes, Vietjet, Techcombank and Masan.

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A view of the Vinhomes Riverside project in Hanoi’s Long Bien District. — Photo baogiaothong.vn

GIC is the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund with an estimated US$359 billion of global assets. Earlier this month, it spent nearly US$100 million to acquire some 24.5 million shares in Vietnam’s consumer giant Masan Group Corporation (MSN) to bring its total number of shares to 75.7 million, a 6.5% stake in the company.

This US$100 million deal is one of many recent major acquisitions that GIC has made in Vietnam, cafef.vn reports.

GIC played a part in Vietnam’s largest equity offerings, all of which were completed in the past year. It invested about US$1.3 billion in luxury developer Vinhomes JSC ahead of its May initial public offering, which was the country’s biggest-ever single share sale. GIC also offers loans to Vinhomes.

The fund was a cornerstone buyer in the US$922 million IPO of Techcombank, a Vietnamese lender backed by Warburg Pincus. It was also an important investor in mall operator Vincom Retail JSC’s 2017 listing and emerged as a substantial shareholder in VietJet Aviation JSC before the budget airline’s stock market debut earlier last year.

GIC now holds 5.74% of VinHomes shares and 4.97% of Vietjet, while its ownership at Techcombank is not disclosed.

GIC also invested in dairy firm Vinamilk, agriculture and food company PAN Group JSC, telecommunications group FPT Corporation and unlisted Vinagame Corporation. In 2015, GIC spent about US$100 million to buy a 10% stake in VNG.

In May, GIC divested from taxi company Vinasun after suffering losses of VND125 billion over four years of investment. After GIC’s sale, Vinasun shares rose from VND14,000 to trade at VND19,000.

GIC, Dragon Capital, VinaCapital and Korea Investment Management (KIM) are the largest investment funds on the Vietnamese stock market.

GIC was established in 1981 to manage Singapore’s foreign exchange reserves. The fund’s indirect investment portfolio in Vietnam includes such sectors as banking, aviation, consumer goods and agriculture.

In addition to GIC, the Singaporean government owns an investment fund called Temasek Holdings with an estimated US$200 billion of global assets.

Temasek has also invested in Vietnam for a long time, mainly in real estate through Singapore-owned developer Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd.

Mapletree’s notable projects in Vietnam include the office and residential development Pacific Place in Hanoi, mPlaza Saigon (previously Kumho Asiana Plaza), SC Vivo City and Mapletree Business Center in HCM City.

VNS

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