Korea’s NPS, SK Group said to set up $860m fund to invest in Vietnam

The logo of SK Innovation is seen in front of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) and business juggernaut SK Group have reportedly joined forces to form a 1 trillion won ($860 million) fund to invest in Vietnam, according to Korean media reports.

The pension fund and SK Group are reportedly contributing 500 billion won each to the fund. SK Group is said to have invested in the fund through SK Southeast Asia Investment, a unit set up in 2018 for its Southeast Asia foray.

Korean private equity managers SKS PE and Stonebridge Capital are understood to have been selected as the general partners of the fund. Stonebridge Capital has previously backed Vietnamese real estate tech startup Propzy.

Last year, SK Group purchased a 9.4 per cent stake in Vietnam’s Masan Group for $470 million, before it paid $1 billion for a 6.1 per cent interest in Vingroup this year. Korean media reports said SK Group will likely extend its investments into these two Vietnamese giants through the partnership fund with NPS.

Vingroup and Masan recently announced the merger of their retail arms into a single entity, which will be run by Masan while Vingroup will remain a shareholder. Financial details of the merger were not disclosed, but it was said to pave way for Vietnam’s largest consumer platform.

South Korea is Vietnam’s largest trade partner and a top foreign direct investment (FDI) investor. The Southeast Asian country has also seen a spate of M&A deals and PE-VC investments involving South Korean investors.

According to the Vietnam Tech Investment Report by Cento Ventures and ESP Capital, 13 of the total 61 venture funds operating in the country in the first half of 2019 were South Korean. The group, the largest ahead of VCs from Singapore (11 funds), has grown from just one fund in 2015.

Both Mirae-Naver Growth Fund and GS Shop are limited partners in local VC funds and also make direct investments in Vietnamese companies.

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.