SINGAPORE/HANOI (March 17): Asian real estate giant CapitaLand Group is in talks to acquire assets worth roughly US$1.5 billion (RM6.73 billion) from Vietnam's biggest listed property firm Vinhomes JSC, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
A deal of that size would mark one of the largest real estate transactions in Southeast Asia in the last few years.
The talks come as Vietnam's property sector is struggling with a cash crunch, following an anti-graft campaign launched by the government last year.
Discussions between CapitaLand, majority owned by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings, and Vinhomes, which has a market value of US$8 billion, have taken place for some projects owned by Vinhomes, four sources told Reuters.
Vinhomes, Vietnam's biggest real estate developer by market capitalisation, is part of Vingroup, the country's largest conglomerate.
One of the sources said CapitaLand is considering buying part of Vinhomes' Ocean Park 3 project, a 294-hectare resort city style development near the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi, or another project in the northern city of Haiphong.
The value of the deal was still being negotiated, the person said, adding that the talks had reached advanced stage.
The sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.
When contacted by Reuters, CapitaLand Development did not directly comment on any potential deal with Vinhomes, but said: "Vietnam is one of CapitaLand Development's core markets. We constantly evaluate investment opportunities to grow our presence in the country."
CapitaLand Development, part of CapitaLand Group — which has a presence in 40 countries — develops retail, office, residential, business parks and data centres, among other businesses. It already has a portfolio of residential projects, including luxury condominiums, in four cities in Vietnam.
Vingroup declined to comment on any discussions with CapitaLand, but said that as a listed company, it would disclose information if any transactions happen.
Vingroup, which is involved in real estate, automobiles and retail, is investing billions of dollars to develop VinFast, its fledgling electric vehicle car maker.
Vinhomes develops and owns residential and commercial real estate projects in Vietnam, a country which has a population of 100 million, and was Asia's fastest growing economy last year.
The economy expanded by 8% last year, the fastest pace in 25 years, backed by strong retail sales and exports, but is facing headwinds from a global slowdown.
A property crisis that started last year, sparked by problems at one of the country's largest property groups No Va Land, has battered investor confidence, as authorities arrested high-level individuals and overhauled the country's bond sector.
Vinhomes was spun off and listed on the local stock exchange in 2018.
Vinhomes' net profit dropped 26% to 29 trillion dong (US$1.23 billion or RM5.51 billion) in 2022 from a year earlier, while total revenue declined 27% to 62 trillion dong.
Shares in Vinhomes have lost 10% so far this year, after tumbling 40% in 2022, as the property crisis deepened.