HANOI, May 11 (Reuters) - The chairman of Vietnam's Vingroup
conglomerate said on Wednesday that an initial public offering
(IPO) for the company's auto unit, VinFast, may be delayed until
next year due to market uncertainty.
The IPO is currently slated for the fourth quarter of this
year. Vingroup Chairman Pham Nhat Vuong also told the company's
annual general meeting the conglomerate was prioritizing
spending on VinFast and gave an aggressive car sales target.
"We are eyeing a Q4 IPO, but there are lots of ongoing
market uncertainties now... If necessary we may delay it to next
year," Vuong said.
"The IPO is not just for fundraising. It's also about
marketing and claiming VinFast's position globally," he said.
VinFast's Singapore-based holding company had filed for an
IPO with the U.S. securities regulators, as the company readies
a $4-billion investment to build a factory in the United States.
Vuong also told the meeting the car maker was facing
obstacles obtaining parts from China.
"Chip factories in Shanghai are closed - therefore chip
supplies have been disrupted and the same story for other
parts," Vuong said, referring to supply chain disruptions caused
by COVID-19 lockdowns in China's business hub.
But Vuong sought to reassure shareholders the startup would
go ahead with the IPO "no matter how uncertain the market."
VinFast, which began operations in 2019, is betting big on
the U.S. market, where it hopes to compete with legacy
automakers and startups with two all-electric SUVs and a battery
leasing model that will reduce the purchase price.
VinFast has promised to create 7,500 jobs at its planned
plant in North Carolina, where it will build the battery-powered
VF8 and VF9 SUVs. The company has said it plans to begin
construction of the plant as soon as permits are granted with a
goal of starting production by 2024.
It has previously said it plans to begin exporting the two
electric vehicles to the United States later this year from its
existing plant in Vietnam.
Vuong said on Wednesday VinFast aimed to sell 750,000 cars
in 2026, with 150,000 cars to be produced in North Carolina and
the rest from its Vietnam factory.
Vingroup is also looking at getting financing from the U.S.
government to support its expansion, including potentially
tapping lending from the U.S. government's $25 billion Advanced
Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.
(Reporting by Phoung Nguyen
Writing by Ed Davies
Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)