The Vietnamese electric vehicle maker VinFast has filed for an initial public offering in New York in a bid to bolster its audacious entry into the U.S. market, the firm announced today.
In a statement, the upstart carmaker, which is backed by Vietnam’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong, said that it hopes to list on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol “VFS.” Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and J.P. Morgan “will act as lead book-running managers and as representatives of the underwriters for the proposed offering,” the statement read. Nomura and BNP Paribas are also among the book-runners for the deal. If successful, the move would make it the only Vietnamese company listed in the U.S.
According to the statement, the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering “have not yet been determined.”
“Valuation or the size of our IPO will be subject, in part, to market conditions,” VinFast Chief Executive Le Thi Thu Thuy said in a separate statement today, Reuters reported. “VinFast will continue to monitor opportunities for future fundraises, as the market becomes more familiar with the VinFast brand and story,” she added.
The Vietnamese carmaker, which launched in 2017, is preparing an aggressive entry into the U.S., where it hopes to capture a significant share of the market in electric vehicles, which is projected to rise from about 5 percent of the total U.S. vehicle market currently to 17.4 percent by 2027. To spearhead its American invasion, it has produced two all-electric SUVs, the VF8 and VF9, which include a battery leasing scheme to lower the purchase price and undercut its more established competitors on price.
As Reuters reported, this week’s filing came after the firm filed a confidential submission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in April, a month after it announced plans for the establishment of a $2 billion manufacturing plant in North Carolina. The 800-hectare complex will have an initial capacity to produce 150,000 EVs per year, in addition to manufacturing EV batteries and other ancillary components.
Today’s IPO announcement came two weeks after VinFast shipped its first batch of vehicles to the United States. In a November 25 statement, the firm said that the shipment of 999 VF 8 electric SUVs was the first of 65,000 global orders and said that it was projecting to sell 750,000 EVs annually by 2026.
There is no denying VinFast’s ambition. Even in the best-case scenario, it will likely take years, if not decades, for the company to establish itself as a mainstay of the U.S. auto market. But whether or not it succeeds, it is a remarkable story. Back in the 1980s, if you had predicted that a company from isolated, conflict-torn Vietnam would within four decades be investing hundreds of millions in the United States and creating jobs for U.S. workers, it would have been hard to believe.
VinFast has leaned heavily into this narrative, yoking its own story that that of Vietnam’s emergence writ large. In the statement following last month’s shipment of EVs to the U.S., Nguyen Viet Quang, the company’s vice chairman and CEO, described it as “a significant event for VinFast and Vingroup and a proud historical milestone for the Vietnamese automotive industry.” He added, “We hope that, when VinFast’s smart electric vehicles roll out on the streets around the world, it will help promote the image of a new, dynamic and progressive Vietnam to the global audience.”