Some analysts recently voiced their concern about the trend of selling Vietnamese businesses to foreigners, warning that it would result in the disappearance of Vietnamese brands.
Meanwhile, Pham Viet Muon, former deputy head of the Steering Committee on Enterprise Renovation and Development, said it would be better to think about the gains when selling shares to foreign investors, rather than worry about Vietnamese brands.
Muon pointed out that many Vietnamese businesses, including Vinamilk and Binh Minh Plastics, are growing well after equitization and selling of shares to foreigners.
Kelvin Tan, CEO of HSBC Thailand, told Vietnam Investment Review that M&As should be considered “long-term partnerships” rather than “hostile takeovers”.
Even family-run businesses, which seem to dislike the presence of outside shareholders, have changed their mind.
At the ceremony announcing strategic cooperation with DEG, a fund of KfW and VOF of VinaCapital, Le Duc Nghia, CEO of An Cuong JSC, a wooden furniture manufacturer, said M&As are common in the world.
He said if Vietnamese businesses fear hostile takeovers or loss of control, they will not be able to enter large markets.
With its one more strategic partner, Sumitomo Forestry from Japan, An Cuong plans to expand its business overseas, including the US and Japan.
Meanwhile, another Japanese corporation, Sekisui Chemical, a subsidiary of Sekisui Group, has become one of the strategic shareholders of Tien Phong Nam Plastics, holding a 25% stake.
Sekisui and Tien Phong will cooperate to produce and sell Sekisui’s products, which target Japanese ODA-funded construction works and other projects in Vietnam and Asia.
According to Dang Quoc Dung, CEO of Tien Phong Nam Plastics, the company decided to cooperate with Sekisui after realizing that the products cannot be made in Vietnam.
Tien Phong Nam plans to export 20% of its total output after it completes construction of a factory in Binh Duong province. Japan, with plastics import value of US$10 billion a year, is hoped to be a potential market for Vietnamese plastics manufacturers.
According to the Vietnam Plastics Association, Japan is the biggest consumer of Vietnam’s plastics exports with plastics import turnover accounting for 25% of total export turnover to Japan.
Analysts say that Vietnam is still one of the most attractive destination points for foreign investors. They are not only interested in real estate projects, but also want to pour money into industries which can exploit advantages from FTAs (free trade agreements).
Meanwhile, investments can bring benefits to Vietnamese businesses which need capital and experience from international groups.