Vietnam’s FPT plans to list before January

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FPT, Vietnam’s largest information technology company, on Tuesday said it plans to list all of its 60.8m shares before the end of this year.

The news came as the company said it had sold a stake to Texas Pacific Group, the US private equity firm, and Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of chipmaker Intel.

The two companies are spending a total of $36.5m on their combined stake. Tim Dattels, managing director for TPG’s Asian investment vehicle TPG-Newbridge, said the two companies had taken stakes which were “roughly the same” size. However, none of the companies involved would say what proportion of FPT’s value the stake represents, nor how much they believe the company is worth.

Local bankers estimate that FPT, founded as the Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technology in 1988, is 80 per cent owned by its employees. About 8 per cent is state-owned, with the remainder held by investment houses based in Vietnam. The company said that last year it made a profit of $17.4m on sales of $517m, a 61 per cent increase on the previous year.

The company’s shares currently trade at between 160,000dong to 180,000dong ($10-$11) each on the over-the-counter (OTC) market, valuing the company at about $600m. However, a banker with knowledge of the deal with TPG and Intel Capital suggested that the two companies had bought their stakes at prices significantly below the OTC price.

The two investors were introduced to FPT by Charlene Barshefsky, the former US Trade Representative. She currently represents TPG as a lawyer and also sits on the board of Intel.

Truong Gia Binh, chairman and chief executive of FPT, is regarded as one of Vietnam’s top entrepreneurs. He has a PhD in Mathematics and Physics from Moscow University and has turned FPT from a company employing 13 people into one now employing 6,000, with a series of IT outsourcing contracts for companies in Japan and Europe. It is also one of Vietnam’s largest internet service providers and telecoms companies.

Mr Binh said he hoped to list the company before the end of this year. The government has announced a 50 per cent tax reduction for companies which list before January 1 2007.

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