Franklin Templeton’s Mark Mobius commits $3b for investments in Vietnam

Mark Mobius, chairman of Franklin Templeton Investment. Visual from the fund's blog.

Mark Mobius, emerging markets fund manager and chairman of US-based Franklin Templeton Investments, has pledged to earmark a whopping $3 billion investment in Vietnam, while the fund has so far spent $300 million in this Southeast Asian market.

Mobius did not give a clear timeline for the investment commitment as the fund was still looking at the state-owned enterprises equitisation of the Vietnamese government, and expected the process will be more drastically implemented to generate more appealing offers to investors, according to reports in local media.

Only by then, Franklin Templeton can pour the $3 billion commitment, or even more, into Vietnam, Mobius reportedly said.

The US fund has ventured some $270 million in Vietnam. However, according to the fund chairman, Vietnamese stock market is still too small for large investment portfolios. Currently, there is a limited number in terms of promising companies that may be eligible for the fund’s investments.

Franklin Templeton has purchased stocks of large businesses like PetroVietnam’s subsidiaries and Vinamilk, the country’s leading dairy company, but is not sure which sectors would be its future portfolios.

The size of the stock market in Vietnam is only a tenth of that in Thailand, where the fund has invested $3 billion.

Firstly, Mobius said, state companies need to be privatised. Meanwhile, the recent announcement from the government wealth fund, the State Capital Investment Corporation, to divest from large corporations is a big move, he added.

Related story: Vietnam state to exit Vinamilk, to divest stake in 9 other businesses: Report

Franklin Templeton is making investments in around 60 countries around the world, and Vietnam ranks 30th in this list in terms of funding value. However, Mobius said, considering the investment opportunities, he would put Vietnam as the number one destination because the potential in this market is huge.

Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2014 was much better than some countries in the region. However, the growth rate of 5.9 per cent did not show the full potential of Vietnam, according to the veteran investor, who was positive that the figure will reach a higher rate in the coming years.

Beginning investment in Vietnam 1996, some $40 million from Franklin Templeton was poured into subsidiaries of Vietnam’s state-owned energy titan PetroVietnam. In April this year, the fund led a $15 million series C funding for one of the largest restaurant chain operators, Huy Vietnam Group Ltd, before financing Ho Chi Minh City-based Indo-Trans Logistics Corp with $15.8 million in September.

Related stories: Templeton leads $15m Series C for Vietnam restaurant operator

Templeton’s emerging markets fund invests in Vietnamese logistics firm

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.