To raise about $1 billion in equity for its car unit, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup (VIC.HM) is in talks with investors, including Qatar’s sovereign fund and BlackRock (BLK.N), three sources aware of the matter said.
While VinFast, Vingroup’s automobile arm, is betting big on the U.S. market, where it hopes that its electric SUVs and a battery leasing model will be enough to woo consumers away from the likes of Tesla (TSLA.O) and General Motors (GM.N).
The fundraising exercise, if successful, is likely to end up as Vietnam’s largest private fundraising, emphasizing heightened investor interest in Southeast Asia, a region where ride-hailing and delivery giants Grab and GoTo have raised billions of dollars.
Electric vehicle projects remain a major draw for investors as indicated by the fundraising move. One source said:
“Electric vehicles are the topic of the year and there’s huge investor interest.”
Sources, who declined to be identified as negotiations are still ongoing, said Vingroup is in discussions for the fundraising ahead of VinFast’s potential U.S. listing that could take place as early as next year.
They said that as early as next month the company could finalize the private fundraising deal. It is also in talks with global private equity firms.
Vingroup is in advanced talks with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, which has been diversifying its investments from its core European and U.S. markets towards Asia.
BlackRock is the largest asset manager globally.
Vingroup declined to comment while there was no response from QIA.
VinFast’s chief executive told Reuters earlier this month that intending to join a growing list of electric vehicle startups that have taken advantage of investor enthusiasm and raised money, VinFast plans a U.S. listing within the next couple of years.
VinFast was sticking to a previous plan of either listing via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) or making a standalone listing, two sources stated.
In the second half of 2024, VinFast, established in 2017 as part of Vingroup, plans to start producing electric cars in the United States. This month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, it unveiled two electric sport utility vehicles, VF e35 and VF e36.