Saigon AM teams up with RNG to raise $100m for Vietnam

Saigon Asset Management is partnering with RNG Invest to launch a fund for real estate, pre-IPO investments and investments in public equities.

Saigon Asset Management (Saigon AM), the Ho Chi Minh-based private equity and real estate firm, is teaming up with RNG Invest, the investment arm of Vietnamese conglomerate REE Corporation, to launch a private equity fund focused on opportunities in Vietnam.

The New Vietnam Smart Money Fund has a target of $100 million, Truong Luc, acting chief execuive officer of RNG Invest, told sister publication PEI Asia. Fundraising will begin in the middle of December and a final close is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

The fund will invest in real estate projects, publicly listed companies and will make pre-IPO investments in Vietnam. Saigon AM will be the manager of the new offshore fund, while RNG Invest will be the sub-investment advisor.

RNG Invest also plans to launch and raise a fund domestically for investments in Vietnam. That fund will target commitments of about $50 million from Vietnamese companies, Luc said, adding that the New Vietnam Smart Money Fund will contribute 49 percent of the domestic fund's capital. 

“We see opportunities abound as the Vietnam economy has quickly recovered from the global financial crisis,” Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh, chairman and chief executive officer of REE Corporation, said in a statement.

Louis Nguyen, chairman and chief executive officer of Saigon AM said foreign investors remain interested in the performance of the Vietnam Index and the “phenomenal” long-term growth story of the country, but access to quality deal flow and consistent return performance remain challenging issues. In Nguyen's view, being able to invest in Vietnam through this fund is a unique proposition.

In September, Saigon AM appointed Hoang Nguyen as chief investment officer. The firm said then it was “in the process of launching new, highly differentiated investment funds focusing on equities and real estate in Vietnam”.

The firm has mare than $125 million in assets under management and manages Vietnam Equity Holding and Vietnam Property Holding, two Cayman Island-domiciled investment companies listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on Xetra, the Frankfurt-based electronic trading system. The private equity vehicle has approximately $75 million of assets under management while the real estate vehicle manages about $50 million of assets.

REE was established as a state-owned company in 1977 and was listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange in 2000. The company’s primary businesses include contracting services for industrial, commercial and civil projects; manufacturing and distribution of air-conditioning units, home appliances and electrical panels; development and operation of real estate projects; and investments in energy, water utilities and financial services.