Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast signs $23 billion SPAC deal

Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast signs  billion SPAC deal

VinFast, an electric vehicle maker founded by Vietnam’s richest person, goes public through a merger with blank check firm Black Spade Acquisition Co. in what would be the largest U.S. listing ever by a company from the Southeast Asian country.

The deal will give VinFast a net worth of around $23 billion, according to a statement from parent company Vingroup JSC on Friday. Including debt, the electric vehicle maker will be valued at around $27 billion. VinFast shareholders will own approximately 99% of the combined entity following the transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of this year, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Black Spade shares jumped 12% in premarket trading.

VinFast would join a trickle of Asian companies seeking to list in the United States through mergers with special-purpose acquisition companies, although similar transactions have slowed amid tighter regulatory oversight and a lukewarm market sentiment. Smart car tech start-up Ecarx Holdings Inc. went public in the US in December after completing its merger with a blank check company, while Singaporean TV licensing firm Allrites Holdings Pte signed this week a merger agreement with blank check company Aura FAT Projects Acquisition Corp.

VinFast will also seek to break the mold of struggling electric vehicle makers after the SPAC mergers. Nikola Corp., Lordstown Motors Corp. and Canoo Inc. An EV hope – Electric Last Mile Solutions Inc. – filed for bankruptcy almost a year ago. .

A SPAC merger, if successful, will crown VinFast’s years-long effort to become a publicly traded company. Bloomberg News first reported in early 2021 that Vingroup was considering a US$2 billion initial public offering for the EV unit. The company in April 2022 filed a confidential application for the sale of shares.

The move comes as VinFast steps up its efforts to expand into markets beyond its home country. The electric vehicle maker, which plans to build a factory in North Carolina, shipped its second batch of electric cars to North America in April and expects to begin delivering to customers in the United States this month. It also plans to send its first vehicles to Europe in July.

“The partnership with Black Spade and the listing of VinFast in the United States represents the ideal route to raise capital for our future global ambitions and is also an important achievement for Vingroup,” said Le Thi Thu Thuy, CEO of VinFast, in the press release.

Global Expansion

Vingroup founder Pham Nhat Vuong, 54, is the richest person in the country, with a net worth of $3.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He started his own business while studying in Moscow and said he left Russia with $40,000 in debt. He started a dry food business in Ukraine in the early 90s that sold instant noodles and mashed potatoes and sold them to Nestlé SA for an undisclosed sum in 2010.

Shortly after launching VinFast in 2017, Vuong spoke openly about his ambition to sell cars in the United States and personally pledged up to $2 billion for the automaker. The billionaire said last month he would donate an additional $1 billion to the electric vehicle maker over the next year. Vingroup will provide $500 million and provide a $1 billion loan over five years.

VinFast officially launched three car models and three electric scooters in Vietnam in 2019, according to its website. In 2021, it launched the first batch of electric vehicles and started pre-orders worldwide for them last year.

Read more: Vietnam’s richest man backs risky $8 billion bet on electric vehicles

Black Spade Acquisition Co. raised $169 million in a 2021 U.S. IPO. The Hong Kong-based blank check company said it was aiming to identify a business combination target related to or in the entertainment industry, with an emphasis on enabling technology, lifestyle brands, products or services, and entertainment media, as shown on its website. Its sponsor Black Spade Capital Ltd. is the private investment arm of Lawrence Ho, chairman and CEO of casino operator Melco International Development Ltd.


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