Vietnam EV maker VinFast plans US listing in August after regulator nod

By Phuong Nguyen

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast is planning to list in the United States next month via a blank-cheque company after the Securities and Exchange Commission gave the go ahead to its proposed business combination.

VinFast, which began operations in 2019, is gearing up to expand in the U.S., where it hopes its planned listing as well as a car plant to be built in North Carolina can boost its ability to compete with legacy automakers and startups.

The EV maker had filed for an initial public offering in the U.S. to list on the Nasdaq in December last year, but in May it announced plans to list through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Black Spade Acquisition Co.

VinFast and Black Spade aim to complete the merger by August, subject to shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions, they said in a joint statement on Friday.

“The declaration of the SEC effectiveness is a significant step towards the successful completion of the business combination between Black Spade and VinFast,” Dennis Tam, Chairman and Co-CEO of Black Spade Acquisition Co said.

Black Spade is set to hold an extraordinary shareholder meeting to approve the proposed business combination with VinFast on August 10, the joint statement said.

VinFast’s move to list via a SPAC follows the likes of EV companies Faraday Future, Nikola Corp and Lucid, despite a cooling in the once frenzied SPAC market, which has come under closer SEC scrutiny.

The new merged entity was estimated by VinFast and Black Spade to have a potential equity value of $23 billion, according to their statement.

The EV maker’s statements have not mentioned any institutional investors to invest alongside the SPAC deal through a private investment in public equity transaction.

Analysts said the price tag is not realistic given that VinFast continues to burn cash and is in very early stages of growing its business in the U.S.

SPACs are seen as a quick route to a stock market listing particularly for auto technology firms. They have proved popular with investors seeking lofty tech stock valuations, but the valuation of merged firms can often fall in the months after listing.

VinFast has shipped around 3,000 EVs to the U.S. and started to deliver them from March. The company on Friday also begun construction of its $4 billion plant in the U.S.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen, Editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)