VinFast to move legal and financial HQ to Singapore –

Vietnamese automaker VinFast is relocating its legal and financial headquarters to Singapore as it readies for a potential public listing and its first exports to the US and European markets. Its CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy told Reuters that the move will offer the company a wider business scope.

“We feel that Singapore is a jurisdiction that will give investors more confidence. We put ourselves in the shoes of the investors,” she told the news agency in an interview. While she didn’t elaborate further, the report suggested that Singapore’s strong regulatory framework, mature financial services sector and access to arbitration makes it an ideal location as a base for financial operations.

Thuy said she planned to spend more time in Singapore, where the company is buying a building in the island state and is turning its holding company into an operating hub that will include an office and housing for staff and executives.

She added that the company will start building its VF8 electric SUV next week, its own EV batteries in August, and begin construction of its assembly plant in the US later this year.

While the US plant will ultimately build the VF8 and VF9 EV SUVs (previously called the VF e35 and e36), the company is set to make them for export first in Vietnam, where its operational headquarters will remain. “We will deliver cars to the international market by the end of the year. All of our effort is on the start of production for the VF8,” Thuy said.

She added that the company has also been at work developing the larger VF9, but that has been delayed by about a month because of the impact of Covid-19 containment measures in Shanghai on suppliers. VinFast is hoping to sell the two SUVs in the US at prices from around US$41,000 with a battery leasing plan. The company is aiming to open its first showrooms in California by early July, including a flagship site in Santa Monica, she said.

The first VF8s will be powered by batteries from South Korea’s Samsung SDI, but the automaker has been developing its own batteries as a hedge against future shortages. Thuy said VinFast is expected to start making the batteries in August and expects to have the capacity to produce about 3,000 vehicles with its own batteries by year-end.

As for the North American assembly plant, which will be located in North Carolina, the automaker is hoping to begin constructing it the end-summer. Production at the plant is expected to start in July 2024, with the capacity of phase one said to be 150,000 units per year. VinFast is also in the process of expanding its Haiphong plant and expects to be able to produce 820,000 vehicles there annually by 2025, Thuy said.

Elsewhere, the automaker has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States through a Singapore-based holding company, although market conditions might push the deal into 2023, it was earlier reported.

Asked about the IPO, Thuy declined to comment about the matter, but said the company’s EV expansion plans were not contingent on the listing. “Like any big corporate, we always consider all potential financing transactions,” she said.

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