SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate, will acquire a 16.3 percent stake in VinCommerce, Vietnam’s largest retailer, for $41 million.
The group said Tuesday its Southeast Asia investment unit signed a stock purchase agreement after exercising its option for further investment as a part of its equity investment in Vietnam’s Masan Group in 2018.
VinCommerce, a retail affiliate of Masan Group, operates about 2,300 convenience stores and supermarkets across Vietnam to command half of the grocery market in the country, according to SK. It generated $1.4 billion in sales last year, up 30 percent on year. This year’s sales are projected to reach $1.8 billion.
In December 2019, Masan Group took over an 83.7 percent stake in VinCommerce from Vingroup, the largest conglomerate in Vietnam. SK has the right to take up the remainder 16.3 percent from Vingroup on the same condition.
SK plans to accelerate investments in other strategic interest areas such as online and offline distribution, logistics, and electronic payment in Vietnam through its strategic partnership with Masan Group, said SK. Vietnam’s retail market is going under rapid modernization, with related market growing 25 percent every year.
SK Group established an investment unit in Southeast Asia in August 2018 to explore growth opportunities in the region. The investment unit is backed by the group’s holding unit SK Inc. (formerly SK Holdings Co), battery maker SK Innovation, SK Telecom and memory chip giant SK hynix.
The investment unit acquired 9.5 percent stake in Masan Group in October 2018 and 6.1 percent stake in Vingroup in May 2019.
On Tuesday, shares of SK closed unchanged at 279,500 won ($249.55) in Seoul.
By Cho Jeehyun
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