MEF II started to divest from Mobile World through a pre-listing private placement shortly before the 2014 public listing of MWG on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange. After the listing, MEF gradually sold blocks of shares to institutional investors approximately once per quarter. The final five million shares were sold at a price of VND165,000 (US$7.28) each and completed on 29 January 2018.
MEF II originally invested US$3.5 million in Mobile World for a 35 per cent stake in 2007. The cumulative net proceeds from the sale of MEF II’s Mobile World shares and dividends received were US$199.4 million.
Over the 10.5-year holding period of this investment, it generated a return multiple of 57x in USD and an IRR of 61.1 per cent in USD, making it one of the most successful private equity investments in the history of Asian Private Equity.
Mobile World has increased from seven stores to more than 2,000 stores today under four different retail brands: thegioididong.com, Dien may XANH, Bach Hoa XANH and vuivui.com. Recently, the company has also acquired Tran Anh Digital World JSC and Phuc An Khang pharmacy chain.
Chris Freund, the founding Partner of Mekong Capital, said: "It’s unfortunate that we now must complete our 10.5-year journey together with Mobile World. Our fund that invested into Mobile World, MEF II, was launched in 2006 and ultimately had a 12-year term, hence we needed to complete the divestment of our remaining investments in MEF II including Mobile World in the first few months of 2018.”
“If it wasn’t for MEF II’s limited timeframe, we would have wanted to continue as a shareholder of Mobile World for the foreseeable future, especially as they ramp up Bach Hoa XANH into Vietnam’s leading supermarket chain,” he stressed.
Established in 2001, Mekong Capital is a Vietnam-focused Private Equity firm. By applying “Vision Driven Investing” framework to add significant value in its investee companies, Mekong Capital then will make the listing of and divestment from these companies.
Mekong Capital has made successful investments in PNJ, Nam Long, Traphaco, Loc Troi, etc. through its three investment funds: MEF, MEF II and Vietnam Azalea, with initial investment of approximately US$130 million.
Currently, Mekong Capital's newly-established Mekong Enterprise III (MEF III) which was launched in 2015 with US$112 million in capital commitment is investing in some companies such as ABA Cooltrans, Nhat Tin Logistics, Ben Thanh Jewelry Joint Stock Company.