Vietnamese EV maker VinFast gets go-ahead for Nasdaq SPAC listing

Press day at the Los Angeles Auto Show

People walk next to a VinFast logo on a screen during the press day at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

HANOI, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast said it expects to start trading on the Nasdaq as soon as next week, sparking a surge in the shares of its parent conglomerate and its blank-check merger partner.

The Vietnam-listed shares of Vingroup rose almost 7% on Friday to 72,600 dong ($3.06), a one-year high. New York-listed shares in Black Spade (BSAQ.A), the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that is merging with VinFast for the listing, jumped 73% to close at $18.50 on Thursday.

Shareholders of Hong Kong-based Black Spade (BSAQ.A), VinFast’s blank-check partner, voted on Thursday to approve the merger with VinFast.

VinFast, in a joint statement with Black Spade, said it would list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol VFS “on or around August 15”.

In July, more than 80% of the shareholders in the SPAC had opted to redeem their shares before the merger.

The SPAC merger will not raise new capital for VinFast but the company’s founder Pham Nhat Vuong has championed a U.S. listing as the carmaker seeks to expand in the U.S. market and builds a plant in North Carolina.

The merger had valued VinFast at $23 billion, the two companies said. In comparison, the current market capitalisation of U.S.-listed EV makers Rivian (RIVN.O) and Lucid (LCID.O) are $21 billion and around $16 billion, respectively.

It leaves VinFast’s existing shareholders, including parent company Vingroup and Vuong, Vietnam’s richest man, with 99% of shares in the company.

“The voting results today are a vote of confidence in VinFast from Black Spade shareholders,” VinFast’s global head Thuy Le said in the statement.

VinFast had filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq last December, but in May announced plans to list through a merger with Black Spade.

Other EV makers including Faraday Future (FFIE.O), Nikola Corp (NKLA.O) and Lucid (LCID.O) have listed via SPAC deals but the market for such deals has faced increased scrutiny from investors and regulators.

VinFast has shipped around 3,000 EVs to the United States from its plant in Haiphong, Vietnam. It started to deliver its first VF8 EVs in March. It has not announced U.S. sales figures.

Registration data tracked by S&P Global Mobility showed total sales of just 137 VinFast EVs in the United States through June.

VinFast’s first-quarter revenue dropped 49% from the previous year and it posted a net loss of $598 million. In 2022, the company posted a loss of $2.1 billion. It has not yet made a profit.

Vuong, who is also chairman of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, told Vingroup shareholders in May that VinFast expected to sell as many as 50,000 EVs this year and could break even as soon as the end of 2024.

The company has previously missed some of its internal delivery targets and faces competition from established rivals led by Tesla (TSLA.O), which have been driving down prices and bringing a range of new EVs to market.

Black Spade was founded by the private investment arm of Lawrence Ho, son of the late gambling mogul Stanley Ho.

($1 = 23,734.0000 dong)

Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Susan Fenton, Kevin Krolicki and Edmund Klamann

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