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Vincom sale a one-off, but good for Vietnam

There are not many firms in a similar position in Vietnam, and its circumstances mean its capital raising may not be replicable by other issuers. But it is still good news for the market.

The progress of Vietnam as an investment destination and a capital market has been among the most erratic in the region over the last 20 years, with fervour regularly replaced by bearishness and back again. But a string of deals suggest that the market may be developing a level of depth and stability.

The latest is the $708 million initial private offering by Vincom Retail, which priced near the top of its range on October 27. Vincom is the largest retail developer, owner and operator in Vietnam and holds 60% of the retail mall sector in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City combined.

With cornerstone investors including Franklin Templeton, HSBC Global Asset Management and funds managed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, taking 59% of the deal, it looks every bit the successful modern capital markets deal.

It is the largest-ever share sale from Vietnam’s private sector. But it is not quite representative of a host of other Vietnamese issuers that might hope to come to the markets.

In particular, this is not officially an IPO, no matter how many times it has been described as such elsewhere. It represents a sale of stakes held by Warburg Pincus and Credit Suisse, both of which were early investors in the company.

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