BANGKOK, THAILAND – 2023/05/18: VinFast displays its vehicles at Future Energy Asia Exhibition 2023 at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
Nathalie Jamois | Lightrocket | Getty Images
On Tuesday, the Vietnamese electric vehicle maker listed on Nasdaq following the completion of its merger with the U.S.-listed special purpose acquisition company Black Spade Acquisition. A SPAC is a shell company that raises capital through an initial public offering for the purpose of acquiring an existing operating company.
Shares of VinFast closed at $37.06 on Tuesday — 270% higher than Black Spade Acquisition’s IPO price of $10. Shares were down 10% ahead of the open Wednesday.
Following the market debut, VinFast is now currently worth $85 billion, according to CNBC calculations. The SPAC merger previously valued VinFast at approximately $23 billion, according to a June filing with U.S. securities regulator.
Meanwhile, BMW and Volkswagen are both worth around $69 billion, according to Refinitiv data, with Ford at $48 billion and GM at $46 billion.
VinFast is the automaking unit of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup and was founded in 2017.
Analysts have previously said that SPAC shares are extremely volatile due to their speculative nature. Due to macroeconomic headwinds, many sponsors have been forced to scrap their proposed deals, sometimes even before the SPACs have been listed.
“We were ready to do a traditional IPO. We pursued the path for almost two years but the markets have been challenging so we decided to decouple the listing from the fundraising. We got the financial backing from our parent company and we went ahead with the listing by way of SPAC,” said VinFast CEO Lê Thị Thu Thủy, in a CNBC interview on Tuesday.
According to Vingroup, VinFast received a $2.5 billion boost in April from Vingroup and Vingroup’s chairman, Pham Nhat Vuong, to fund its global expansion.
When asked about the firm’s decision to list via a SPAC in unfavorable market conditions, Lê said that it was “just a way” to get listed.
“You saw how the market reacted when we opened today, right? I think it’s just a way for us to get listed in the U.S. We didn’t think of the reputation of SPACs,” said Lê.
VinFast’s U.S. expansion has faced hurdles, including delayed deliveries to its first customers due to a software issue.
The company, which has yet to make a profit, eventually delivered those vehicles to its first U.S. buyers in March, a few months after its December target.
VinFast is building a factory in North Carolina to compete with EV makers Tesla and BYD in the U.S. market, as well as traditional automakers increasingly focusing on hybrids and EVs. The automaker said that the facility can produce up to 150,000 vehicles a year in the first phase.
In response to how VinFast plans to compete with the big players in a competitive market like the U.S., Lê said that there is enough market share for each player.
“[With] the whole world and U.S. in particular moving from internal combustion engines to EVs, there’s room for everybody.”