Vietnam M&A market is back on an upward trend with deal value totaling US$4.66bn: StoxPlus’ database recorded 265 completed M&A deals in 2014 with value totaling US$4.66bn, an increase of 33.1% from 2013 (total deal value recorded by StoxPlus in 2013 was US$ 3.504bn). Vietnam M&A market has clearly shown signs of warming up in 2014, with more activities as well as major mega deals.
The increase in deal value in 2014 was driven by a number of mega-deals. Total value of these 07 mega-deals amounted to US$2.44bn, or 52% of the total Vietnam M&A market in 2014. It was due to the presence of mega-deals that Vietnam M&A market had such a big jump in deal value in 2014 compared to 2013.
Thai investors led the inbound investment trend in 2014, and Thai interest is expected to increase in the coming years. Inbound M&A into Vietnam totaled US$3.024bn in 2014, an big jump of 64.9% compared to only US$1.83bn of inbound M&A in 2013.
The acceleration of SOE privatization: According the data announced by the Government, over the period 2011 – 2014, there has been 247 SOE IPOs. However, M&A activities generated from SOE IPOs were minimum. From 2015, several promising sectors for M&A of SOE IPOs will be Telecommunications, Constructions and materials, Retail, and Travel & Leisure.
Divestment progress from non-core business of SEGs and SCs has been slow: Divestment from non-core business of SEGs and SCs are an important part of the overall SOE restructuring process. According to StoxPlus database, there are 296 companies that SEGs and SCs are required to divest or fully divest by 2015.
There has been little divesture of existing state capital from already equitized SOEs. 2014 marked a humble year of divesting State Capital at equitised companies, with only 121 divestures were resulted from 941 entities being listed on Stock Exchanges or managed by SCIC.
SCIC is expected to play an important role as the manager of State Capital in equitized SOEs, and key player in accelerating the divestment process: SCIC is the most active entity during 2014 due to its specialized function and accumulated experience of managing State Capital.
According to StoxPlus’ targeted survey of foreign investors, foreign interest in SOE IPOs is high: Investors regards highly the M&A opportunities from SOE equitization process: 11% are very positive, 53% positive, 31% neutral, and only 5% are not at all positive about SOE equitization. This is a very positive sign for higher foreign participation in SOE IPOs and divestment in the coming year.
There are still many key challenges and issues that need to be overcome to make SOEs more attractive: The biggest challenge faced by foreign investors is the lack of transparency and information about the SOEs and their IPO plans.
Without the information about the SOEs and their IPO / equitization plans, it would be impossible for investors to screen for investment opportunities in the SOEs. Hence, transparency is the first and foremost important issue that needs to be improved by the SOEs in order to accelerate the equitization process.