Vietnam displaces China as production hub Vietnam

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1 Clark Financial Advisory Limited Vietnam displaces China as production hub Vietnam Investing in Vietnam complications and solutions Executive Summary Vietnam has become the most promising growth market in Asia with a young and literate population, low wage costs and improving macro backdrop. Investing in Vietnam can be complicated; simply buying an ETF may not be the answer. Substantial gains can be made by choosing the manager with local knowledge and expertise. Vietnam, with a population of 94 million, is the 15th most populous country in the world and Vietnam, with a population of 93 million, is the 15th most populous country in the world and 50% of this population is under the age of 30. Education, key to Vietnam s development success Education has been key to Vietnam s development success story over the last 20 years. Today over 94% of the population is literate. The OECD 2012 PISA study in 2012 assessed 15 yearolds in 65 countries in mathematics, reading & science; Vietnam scored almost on a par with Germany and Switzerland and ahead of most of Western Europe and the USA. Wage costs, half of China Vietnamese average wage costs are less than half those of China and Vietnam is now the key destination for FDI in Asia. As a result of this, Vietnam is starting to displace China and Taiwan as the manufacturing hub of choice in Asia. Growth Drivers, exports and domestic demand The country s main growth drivers are exports, domestic demand as the population urbanises, and FDI. Chief trading partners include Western Europe, the US, China, Japan & ASEAN and major exports include: telephones, textiles, electronics, footwear, seafood, oil, wood, rice (global #2), & coffee (global #2) FDI, legal and institutional reforms Vietnam joined the WTO in This had a positive impact on VN economy in that it has led to legal and institutional reforms and a better investment climate. It has resulted in a huge increase in FDI inflows and an expansion of international trade. This has made a major contribution to Vietnam s export-led growth strategy. The likes of Samsung, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Adidas and Nike are all shifting production to Vietnam. The government is also investing heavily in infrastructure in order to support the FDI flows. Vietnam displaces China as Asian production hub 1

2 Domestic demand, another key driver Another key growth driver for Vietnam is the extremely fast urbanization process as the rural population relocates to industry in the cities. This leads to rising income and a growing middle class. The OECD estimates that consumption levels will rise 20 fold over the next 2 decades. Free trade agreements, main one is with the EU VN is a party to a number of FTAs currently under negotiation. The main ones are with the EU and the TPP. The EU agreement is signed and due take effect in 2016 and 90% of EU import duties will be reduced to 0% within a maximum of 7 years. Similarly, the Trans Pacific Partnership encompasses countries representing 37% of global GDP. Vietnam should be the main beneficiary because it is less developed than most of the other participants. This should lead to even more FDI, further productivity gains and further momentum for reform. Macro stability Vietnam displaces China as Asian production hub 2

3 Key figures, promote future growth Vietnam had a credit boom and bust in 2006/2007. Since then the Vietnamese stock market has gone essentially nowhere. However, things are changing as the economy is starting to recover with conscientious efforts from the government to stabilise the economy via tighter macroeconomic policies aiming to achieve long-term sustainable growth. As a result, as shown above, inflation has come down to less than 3% after peaking at 28% in 2008, interest rates have come down from 20% to 5%, the exchange rate has stabilised, forex reserves have surged and the current account has turned into surplus. Furthermore, the government has set up the Vietnam Asset Management Corporation to deal with the non-performing loan hangover from the 2007 bust and a new credit cycle is just beginning. GDP growth has remained resilient throughout the last decade and is currently running at 6%, driven largely by exports. The market cap of VN is currently $57B similar in size to NZ. The difference is that the VN market is developing fast. Vietnam is undergoing a major privatization process. There are currently 670 listed companies in Vietnam but more than 400 State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are planned to equitize over the next few years bringing the total of listed companies to over Clearly this will increase the extent of investment opportunities. (NB. The commitment to restructuring SOEs plays a key role in transforming the whole economy because they account for a large share of employment, assets, output and taxes). Investing in Vietnam, complications? Investing in Vietnam is not that easy. The main MSCI Asia indices have zero exposure to Vietnam; the same can be said about most of the larger Asian funds. The Vietnamese index itself is dominated by literally a handful of larger stocks which tend to trade on relatively high PEs and multiples of book value. ETFs, produced negative returns The largest VN ETF has similar concentration and valuation complications and has produced negative returns over the last 5 years. However, if one looks below this handful of large cap stocks there is real opportunity for the Value Investor. Vietnam displaces China as Asian production hub 3

4 Source: Bloomberg Large numbers of stocks are trading with modest book values and with single-digit PEs. Moreover, only 15% of the 670 listed stocks have any in-depth broker coverage and dividend levels in Vietnam are high by Asian standards at circa 4% on average. Technical information Index status, not included in main Asian indices Vietnam is classified as frontier by MSCI and therefore not included in either of the main Asian indices and thus major Asian funds using these indices tend not to offer investors exposure to Vietnam. Foreign Ownership Limits (FOLs), relaxation of Foreign Ownership Limits Historically, there has been a further complication to investing in Vietnam, FOLs. However, in June 2015 Vietnam announced a relaxation of these Foreign Ownership Limits. This is key step towards the conversion of Vietnam from Frontier to EM status which will likely unlock substantial capital for investment into Vietnam. The question is who has the expertise to navigate these complicated waters Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) is the largest securities firm in Vietnam. SSI s asset management division, SSIAM, have a team of 20 experienced fund managers and analysts on the ground with a deep knowledge of the local market. The SSIAM investment approach is Classic Value Investing with an emphasis on quality at a reasonable price. This is combined with a focus on corporate governance and sustainable competitive advantages in order to select the ideal investment candidates. They are seeking out value and growth and income. Vietnam displaces China as Asian production hub 4

5 National Seed Company of Vietnam, an example of SSIAM investment National Seed Company (NSC) of Vietnam is a good example of SSIAM s ability to identify and create value. The seed market in Vietnam is potentially $2 bn. in size and NSC holds a 20% market share. SSIAM bought into NSC in early 2012; and actively worked with this seed supplier to move its business away from offering generic seeds to offering coated and patented seeds. This improved the company s gross margin significantly as well as its market share. Net earnings increased 3 fold over the next 3 years and the stock price increased by 250%. Over the same period the Vietnamese index was up only 29%. Source: Bloomberg Vietnam National Seed Corporation Currently valued by market at 11.7x earning, 2x book value, ROE 20% Earnings and stock price rose 3 fold since SSIAM involved Vietnam displaces China as Asian production hub 5

6 The SSIAM SSIAM research research process process is disciplined and fundamental. The universe of 670 stocks is screened for value (modest PB, Quality at a reasonable price (modest PB, Low PE, strong ROE and Dividend Yield. This top-down screening is then combined with bottom-up research analysis in order to generate a short-list to be further researched. Value opportunities are then assessed qualitatively. SSIAM staff meet the management, visit the factories, seek further information from competitors, suppliers, customers and credit institutions. Particular focus is paid to rigorous analysis of long-term growth prospects, management quality financial/accounting, and governance. This detailed analysis is combined with an active hands-on approach post investment where possible and appropriate. If you would like to hear more about SSIAM please contact their representative in Europe, Clark Financial Advisory Limited. Information and Product Advice Contact information Request more information CFAL and SSIAM Disclaimer Andrew Clark, Clark Financial Advisory Limited UK Issued and approved by Clark Financial Advisory Limited (CFAL) acting as sole representative of SSIAM in the UK and Europe. Clark Financial Advisory Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No: This document is for information only and does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell any investment, or subscribe to any investment management or advisory service. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to the future. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the stated facts are accurate and opinions are fair and reasonable neither CFAL nor any of its partners or employees shall be responsible in any way for the contents of this document. It is not, under any circumstances, intended for distribution to the general public. Vietnam displaces China as Asian production hub 6

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