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SK Group acquires 16.3% of Vietnam’s top retailer for $410 million

Apr 06, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

SK officials pose for a photo after signing a deal to buy a stake in VinCommerce.
SK officials pose for a photo after signing a deal to buy a stake in VinCommerce.

South Korea’s SK Group has acquired 16.3% of Vincommerce, Vietnam’s top retail business operator, for $410 million as part of a move to expand its presence in the Southeast Asian nation’s consumer sector.

SK, Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, said on Apr. 6 that SK Southeast Asia Investment Ltd. has signed a deal to purchase the stake from Masan Group, Vietnam’s food and beverage industry leader.

Vincommerce, a retail subsidiary of Masan Group, operates about 2,300 convenience stores and supermarkets in Vietnam, accounting for roughly 50% of the market in the country.

“We expect Vincommerce to grow into an omnichannel business that covers both online and offline markets, just like Alibaba or Amazon,” said an SK Group official.

“Our stake purchase represents SK’s investment in the future-oriented retail value chain in the Southeast Asian market.”

Masan Group took over an 83.7% stake in VinCommerce from Vingroup, Vietnam’s biggest conglomerate, in December 2019. VinCommerce's sales revenue increased 30% to $1.4 billion in 2020 from the previous year, and is expected to rise further to $1.8 billion this year, according to SK.

SK Group, in its own efforts to tap into the fast-growing e-commerce segment in Southeast Asia, purchased 9.5% of Masan Group in October 2018 and a 6.1% stake in Vingroup in May 2019.

SK Group's investments in Vietnam

Timing Investment Details
Aug. 2018 Launched SK Southeast Asia Investment Co-invested by SK Inc. & other units
Oct. 2018 Invested in Masan Group Acquired a 9.5% stake
May 2019 Invested in Vingroup Acquired a 6.1% stake
May 2020 Invested in Imexpharm Corp. Acquired a 24.9% stake
Apr. 2021 Invested in VinCommerce Acquired a 16.3% stake

SK EYES FURTHER STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS IN VIETNAM

SK said on Tuesday it bought the 16.3% stake in VinCommerce under the same terms that Masan Group acquired the top retailer in 2019, meaning that SK has also seen a valuation gain from its latest investment.

Industry watchers say VinCommerce’s valuation will rise further given that Vietnam’s retail market is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 25% in coming years.

SK Group acquires 16.3% of Vietnam’s top retailer for 0 million

SK Group said it will accelerate investment in major strategic interests such as online and offline distribution, logistics and electronic payments in Vietnam by utilizing its strengthened partnership with Masan Group.

“Masan is our best partner in our efforts to become successful in Vietnam’s retail market. We’ll spare no effort in making another success story in Vietnam,” said Park Won-cheol, managing director of SK Southeast Asia Investment Ltd.

Write to Jae-Kwang Ahn at ahnjk@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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