Vietnam’s EV firm skids for third straight US stock session after debut boom

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) -VinFast shares slumped for a third straight session on Friday, with the Vietnamese electric automaker now losing more than half of its market value since its blowout Nasdaq listing this week.

The cash-burning company was last valued at $35 billion, down from $85 billion in its Wall Street debut on Tuesday.

VinFast shares on Friday fell 23% to close at $15.40, slipping below its opening price of $22 on Tuesday, when it had surged up to $38.78.

With about 99% of the firm controlled by founder Pham Nhat Vuong, the small amount of publicly available shares makes the stock prone to volatility.

Just $45 million worth of its shares had been traded by late morning, compared with $29 billion worth of shares in Tesla, according to Refinitiv data.

VinFast, which has struggled to retain senior executives and has an ambitious target of selling 50,000 electric vehicles this year, is shifting to a new “hybrid model” for sales, bringing in distributors and dealers for overseas markets.

Several U.S. dealers contacted by Reuters have said they are open to the idea, but some analysts remain skeptical.

“It may be hard to successfully market and sell vehicles in the U.S. that are produced and sold in an emerging market like Vietnam, where the features and functionality demanded by consumers are typically very different,” said Jason Benowitz, senior portfolio manager at the Roosevelt Investment Group.

The company said it intends to raise capital from global investors over the next 18 months, which could put at risk its lofty valuation.

“Founder Pham Nhat Vuong brought a portion of VinFast to the public markets because he may seek to further monetize his stake over time. That may be a material overhang for VinFast shares for some time to come,” Benowitz said.

VinFast’s listing follows the likes of other EV companies including Faraday Future, Nikola and Lucid, which have come under increased U.S. regulatory scrutiny.

(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in Oakland, CaliforniaEditing by Arun Koyyur and Matthew Lewis)