Vingroup to acquire 60% stake in French consumer electronics firm Archos

Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, which ventured into technology and smart devices in 2018, on Tuesday announced the acquisition of listed French consumer electronics firm Archos.

Vingroup, through its VinSmart subsidiary, will initially acquire a 29.5 per cent stake in Archos and will eventually hold a 60 per cent stake in the firm after a warrant agreement is exercised, according to an official announcement.

Specifically, Archos will issue 27.46 million new shares to VinSmart at 0.281 euro apiece, equivalent to a total amount of 7.7 million euro ($8.6 million).

A number of 71 million share subscription warrants will be issued at a fixed subscription price of 0.062 apiece. Each warrant will be exercisable during a two-year period from its issuance at 0.281 euro per warrant.

Under the terms of the agreement, all new smartphones distributed via Archos shall now be under Vingroup’s Vsmart brand. The company said it has shipped over 20 million units of Google Android devices over the last 10 years and has a global presence at more than 25,000 sales points.

The investment in Archos will help in “increasing Vingroup’s market share in Europe in the consumer tech industry (…) and providing Archos with new financial resources and stabilising Archos’ share capital ownership”, the French company said.

It added that it will access VinSmart’s manufacturing facilities to speed up its new product development cycle and to reduce time-to-market. VinSmart currently operates one production factory in Hai Phong, northern Vietnam and plans to open a second one, targeting to make five million smartphones within the next two years as well as producing smart TVs.

In December 2018, VinSmart acquired 51 per cent of Spanish smart devices manufacturer BQ to build its international footprint. At that time, BQ had offices in China, Germany and Russia.

Vingroup is also planning to launch its smartphones in Myanmar, according to a Financial Times report, to tap the burgeoning frontier market where Vietnamese telco major Viettel currently operates.

Owned by Vietnam’s first billionaire in US dollar terms, the $16-billion conglomerate operates in eight major segments, including property, hospitality and entertainment, consumer retail, industries, healthcare, education, agriculture and technology.

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