HANOI (Dec 7): Vietnam's electric-vehicle (EV) maker VinFast said on Tuesday (Dec 6) it had filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US to list on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol "VFS" to fund its expansion with a planned plant in North Carolina.
VinFast, which began operations in 2019, is gearing up to expand in the US market, where it hopes to compete with legacy automakers and start-ups with its two all-electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs), the VF8 and VF9, including battery leasing to reduce the purchase price.
For the IPO, the company said it will convert to a Singapore public limited company and will be known as VinFast Auto Ltd, while the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
Tuesday's filing follows VinFast's confidential submission to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in April, a month after it said it would build a production plant in North Carolina, with an initial projected capacity of 150,000 EVs a year.
A unit of Vietnam's biggest conglomerate Vingroup, VinFast first flagged its US IPO in April last year, eyeing to raise US$2 billion (RM8.79 billion) with valuation of about US$60 billion.
The market valuation for EV start-ups has drastically cooled for the past year after some companies with sky-high valuation face scrutiny, together with the current gloomy global economy.
"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 released on Wednesday.
"VinFast will continue to monitor opportunities for future fundraising, as the market becomes more familiar with the VinFast brand and story," she said.
The company had said IPO was just one of the options to raise funds. In July, it tapped banks to raise at least US$4 billion to fuel its aggressive expansion.
No time frame was specified for the offering on Tuesday, although the company had said it aimed for an IPO in the fourth quarter of this year.
But in May, its parent company Vingroup warned that the IPO may be delayed to 2023 due to market uncertainty.
"VinFast intends to conduct an IPO after the SEC declares the registration statement effective, market conditions permitting," Thuy said on Wednesday, noting the company's primary objective is to successfully list VinFast on a US stock exchange.
The EV maker in late November shipped its first batch of 999 vehicles to the US, capping a five-year bid to develop an auto production hub in Vietnam for markets in North America and Europe.
VinFast has said it has almost 65,000 orders globally in total, and expects to sell 750,000 EVs annually by 2026.