Vietnam EV maker VinFast to list in U.S. via a SPAC

A VinFast EV car on display at the New York Auto Show, April 13, 2022.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Vietnamese electric automaker VinFast said on Friday it will list in the United States via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Black Spade Acquisition Co.

The move comes after the startup last month said it had received a fresh round of funding pledges worth $2.5 billion from parent company Vingroup, Vietnam’s biggest conglomerate, and founder Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s first billionaire and richest man.

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After the merger, the new entity will have an enterprise value of approximately $27 billion and an equity value of $23 billion, “assuming no BSAQ shareholders elect to have their Black Spade shares redeemed for cash as permitted,” VinFast and Black Spade said in a joint statement.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023, it said, adding existing shareholders of VinFast will hold approximately 99% of the shares of the combined company.

VinFast, which was founded in 2017 and began selling EVs in California this year, previously filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. to list on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “VFS” in December last year, aiming to raise about $60 billion.

The company has said it has almost 55,000 orders globally and is able to churn out 300,000 EVs per year.

Black Spade Acquisition is a Hong Kong-based SPAC which listed on the NYSE in July 2021 with a plan to merge, within two years, with a company ideally in the entertainment business, according to its website.

It was founded by Black Spade Capital Limited, the private investment arm of Lawrence Ho, the head of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, which operates casinos in Macau and the Philippines, according to the company’s website and Refinitiv.

“The partnership with Black Spade and listing of VinFast in the U.S. represents the perfect capital raising avenue for our future global ambitions,” Thuy Le, VinFast’s global chief executive, said.

VinFast’s move to list via a special purpose acquisition company follows the likes of EV companies Microvast, Faraday Future, Nikola Corp and Lucid , despite a cooling in the once frenzied SPAC market, which has been subjected to closer scrutiny by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

SPACs are seen as a quick route to the stock market, particularly for auto technology firms, and have proven popular with investors seeking Tesla-like stock valuations — although the valuation of merged firms often falls in the months after listing.

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