South Korea's SK Group looks to exit Vietnam's Masan, Vingroup: report

South Korea's SK Group looks to exit Vietnam's Masan, Vingroup: report

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SK Innovation is seen in front of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korean chaebol SK Group is in the process of exiting its investments in two of Vietnam’s biggest companies, Vingroup and Masan Group, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Sunday.

The media outlet said that SK is looking to secure more than 1 trillion won ($720 million) from the share disposals.

The company had injected $470 million for a 9.5% stake in Masan in 2018 and led a consortium to invest $1 billion in Vingroup a year later.

The Korean investor has a put option with Masan Group to sell its stake in the Vietnamese conglomerate.

In a written statement on Monday, Masan said: “The two companies are in the final stages of an orderly and market-based process for SK Group to reduce its stakes in Masan Group, targeting professional pre-identified investors who are familiar with Masan’s business operations, subject to optimal market conditions.”

Maeil Business Newspaper reported that SK is expected to complete negotiations for disposing of its 6.1% stake in Vingroup by the end of this year.

“Even if the stake sale is complete, the SK Group’s cooperative relationship with Vingroup and Masan Group will continue,” the newspaper reported citing an SK Group representative.

Both Masan and Vingroup are listed on the stock exchange, with market capitalisation of roughly $4.4 billion and $6.3 billion, respectively.

In 2022, in a response to DealStreetAsia, SK’s head of Vietnam denied a media report that it was seeking to exit from six companies in Vietnam and one in Malaysia.

The Vietnamese assets included stakes in Vingroup and Masan Group, pharmacy retail chain Pharmacity (14.5% stake), pharmaceutical company Imexpharm (54%), retailer VinCommerce (16.3%), and The CrownX (4.9%)—an integrated commerce platform of Masan.

The Malaysian firm is BigPay, the fintech arm of Malaysia’s Capital A Bhd.

Along with South Korea’s sovereign fund, the National Pension Service, SK reportedly invested about 3 trillion won ($2.2 billion) in the mentioned seven businesses.

SK’s financial burdens have escalated lately, and it is focusing on selling its non-core assets. It was reported to switch its focus to the main businesses of semiconductor, battery, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Edited by: Pramod Mathew

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