Vietnamese car maker VinFast was considering a number of fund-raising options, including an initial public offering (IPO), according to Reuters citing company insiders.
The startup parent company, Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate VinGroup Joint Stock Company, was looking to raise up to US$2bn to fund its rapid expansion and to meet the challenges of a fast-changing global market environment.
Among the options being considered was an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), a path trodden many times in the last decade by Chinese technology and electric vehicle (EV) startups, and also an equity investment via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
VinFast said in a statement: "Any potential fundraising will be subject to different factors, such as market conditions."
The company is being advised by Credit Suisse Hong Kong.
The Reuters report suggested sources in VinGroup, a conglomerate with interests spanning property development, retail and healthcare, confirmed it was considering an IPO in the US which could value VinFast at up to US$50bn which seems highly excessive considering that Vingroup itself is valued at around US$20bn.
A US$2bn IPO would be the biggest ever by a Vietnamese company, ahead of VinGroup's US$1.4bn public share issue of Vinhomes in 2018. If it goes ahead, VinFast would also be the first Vietnamese company to list in the US.
VinFast was established in 2017 to target its domestic market initially. It has a significant factory near the capital city Hanoi with capacity for 250,000 vehicles per year. The company also acquired a licence to produce a car based on a previous generation BMW and has attracted a large number of global suppliers.
Production began in 2019 and last year it sold just under 30,000 cars in its home market. The target for this year is 45,000 units although sales in the first two months of the year are reported to be a little over 4,500 units.
Since it was first established, VinFast has had to adapt its strategy to keep up with the global shift towards electric vehicles, smart and connected technology and even autonomous driving.
The company last month began taking orders in its home market for its first EV, the e34, with deliveries scheduled to start in November 2021. It also aims to complete construction of a network of charging stations covering 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam by the end of the year, offering some 40,000 individual charging ports.
The company is also building an EV assembly plant in the US and plans to start sales in North America and Europe in 2022.
Last month it emerged that VinFast was in talks with Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn, to collaborate in the development of an EV supply chain including batteries.