Vietnam food co Vissan plans IPO, Korean conglomerate CJ in race for strategic stake

CJ Cheiljedang Corp (CJ), one of South Korea’s leading conglomerates and manufacturer of processed food, is reportedly interested in picking up a strategic stake in the Vietnamese state-owned food company Vissan, formally known as the Vietnam Meat Industries Limited Company, when the latter goes for an initial public offering (IPO), a report said.

Vissan, a member unit of the Saigon Trading Group, has been operating for 45 years, and its latest financials reveal an average annual sales of VND4.5 trillion ($209.3 million). It is known for Vissan sausage and ham products in the local market.

Meanwhile, CJ is already present in Vietnam through CJ Vina Agri Co Ltd, which was established in 1999 and focuses on animal feeds.

Van Duc Muoi, general director of Vissan, told the Dau tu (Investment) newspaper: “CJ expresses its interest in our company unilaterally, while we have no intention of selling shares. We are working to be equitised (go in for an IPO) this year.”

Although Muoi did not reveal Vissan’s criteria for a strategic partner, he said that CJ could be a potential investor because it has “strong investment” in Vietnam and could help it achieve a leading position in the food industry.

Vissan has hired VietCapital Securities Company as its consulting agency for the listing process. However, the details of the initial public offer (IPO) have not been determined yet, even as the state-owned firm expects to quickly define its corporate value so that it can implement the IPO within this year.

CJ is among investors who have made public their intention to purchase shares in a company that is scheduled to be equitised (listed). Most strategic partners of state-owned businesses do not often reveal their plans until the time of the IPO, and are usually evasive about becoming a strategic shareholder.

This move is an indicator of the Korean investor’s ambition to consolidate its business in Vietnam. Jay Hyun Lee, chairman of CJ, the spinoff from Korea’s largest conglomerate Samsung, said that Vietnam plays a vital role in the group’s global expansion strategy, as it will be the connection with the Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar markets, the Dau tu reported.

In addition, CJ in Korea has expanded into entertainment and broadcasting services. In Vietnam, it has a collaboration with the Saigontourist Cable Television Co Ltd to develop a shopping channel in 2011. The Vietnamese broadcasting segment is remained 100 per cent state-owned.

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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.