VinFast, an electric vehicle (EV) maker founded by Vietnam’s richest person, is set to go public through a merger with Black Spade Acquisition Co., a blank-check company. This would be the largest-ever US listing by a company from Southeast Asia. In total, the deal will give VinFast an equity value of about $23 billion, while its shareholders will own approximately 99% of the combined entity once the transaction is finalized.
VinFast plans to expand beyond its home country and has already shipped its second batch of electric cars to North America, with plans to start delivering to customers in the US this month.
The founder of VinFast’s parent company, Vingroup JSC, Pham Nhat Vuong, started the business in 2017 with an ambition to sell cars in the US. Vuong is Vietnam’s richest person with a net worth of $3.9 billion. VinFast launched its first EVs and started pre-orders globally last year. VinFast also plans to send its first vehicles to Europe in July.
The move to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger is an important accomplishment for Vingroup and a perfect capital raising avenue for VinFast’s future global ambitions. However, the EV maker is also looking to change the cycle of EV manufacturers struggling after SPAC mergers. Companies such as Nikola Corp., Lordstown Motors Corp., and Canoo Inc. have nearly wiped out shareholders since they combined with blank-check firms in the last few years. VinFast will hope to avoid the same fate and achieve success in the US market.
Black Spade Acquisition Co. raised $169 million in a US IPO in 2021 and looks to have a combination of business targets from many fields, such as entertainment, lifestyle brands, products/services, and enabling technology. The Hong Kong-based blank check firm’s sponsor, Black Spade Capital Ltd., is the private investment arm of Lawrence Ho, the chairman and CEO of casino operator Melco International Development Ltd.
VinFast’s SPAC merger with Black Spade Acquisition Co. will enable the EV maker to achieve its goals of going public and expanding globally. However, it also faces the challenge of avoiding the fate of other EV manufacturers who struggled after SPAC mergers. VinFast’s success in the US market will depend on its ability to deliver quality EVs to customers and compete against established players in the industry.