Thai businesses struggle for power in Vietnam’s real estate market
The strong recovery of the real estate market has brought golden opportunities to Thai investors.
After M&A deals in the plastics sector, SCG Group has announced the takeover of VCM, a Vietnamese building material company, in a deal worth $156 million. Four years ago, SCG spent VND5 trillion to take over Prime Group, which was then a big tile manufacturer.
Other Thai conglomerates have also been eying Vietnamese building material companies. Siam City Cement (SCCC), the second largest cement manufacturer in Thailand, spent $580 million to acquire a 65 percent stake of LafargeHolcim Vietnam.
Most recently, Amata Group injected $600 million in industrial real estate projects in the southern province of Dong Nai.
Analysts commented that Thai businesses want to take shortcuts and enter Vietnam as quickly as they can. Besides the retail sector, Thais have shown their ambitions in the real estate sector.
According to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA), Thai businesses have invested in 440 projects so far with total registered capital of $7.7 billion, ranking 10th out of 112 countries and territories with investments in Vietnam.
The construction and real estate sector was not mentioned among the favorite investment fields for Thais. However, many Thai tycoons have turned up in recent deals.
Even Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), well known in the agricultural sector, has also invested in Vietnam’s real estate. In early 2016, it announced the investment of $3.6 billion in Vietnam in the next five years, half of which will be poured into real estate projects and one retail chain.
The recent meeting between Probus Opportunities Mekong Fund, based in Thailand, and Hoang Quan Trade Consultancy & Real Estate JSC has been cited by analysts as proof showing that Thais are now eyeing Vietnam’s real estate sector.
In early 2016, KT ZMICO Securities had a working session with Hoang Quan on social housing projects.
According to CBRE Vietnam, a real estate consultancy firm, the Vietnam real estate market has strongly recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis, bringing great opportunities to attract foreign capital flow, including capital from Thailand.
Regarding SCG, analysts commented that it is the right time for the Thai conglomerate to buy Vietnam’s cement manufacturers as the latter are facing difficulties.
Cement is listed among the most polluting industries. The Quang Binh provincial authorities have released a decision on suspending the Van Ninh Cement Plant as it has discharged untreated dust and smoke to the environment.
SCG wants to implement its plan to conquer the real estate market in the time to come.
M. Ha, VNN