VinaCapital seals 2.5x exit

Vietnam Opportunity Fund has sold its entire stake in food and beverage company Masan for more than $20m, generating a return of 2.5 times its original investment.

Vietnam-based asset management and investment firm VinaCapital has sold its equity stake in Masan Group, a Vietnamese food and beverage company.

VinaCapital said the transaction fetched more than $20 million and generated a 2.5x return on investment. Vietnam Opportunity Fund first invested in Masan in August 2006 and subsequently increased its stake in the company in December 2007. The size of its stake and investment amount was not disclosed.

The firm continues to believe in the value of the companies it holds, and “the Masan exit should stand as solid evidence that Vietnam Opportunity Fund remains able to exit mature investments at a high rate of return”, said Andy Ho, managing director of VinaCapital.

Masan, the shares of which trade on Vietnam’s over the counter equities market, had net profits of $6 million and net assets of $37 million as at the end of 2007. It has not disclosed results for 2008 yet.

VinaCapital is planning to launch an energy-focused on Vietnam by the end of 2009, sources familiar with the firm said last month. Details about the fund’s structure and target size are still unavailable as its formation is still in progress. However, sources have previously indicated that the Vietnam Energy Fund will be closed-ended and unlisted. The fund will look to capitalise on the increasing mismatch between the demand and supply of energy.

The Vietnam Opportunity Fund is a closed-ended, AIM-listed fund that was launched in September 2003. It focuses on investments in financial services, retail, consumer goods, tourism, property, infrastructure, and technology. The fund’s net asset value as of 31 January 2009 stood at $597 million. Shares of Vietnam Opportunity Fund are currently trading at a discount of more than 50 percent to net asset value.

VinaCapital could not be reached at press time.