Thursday, January 03, 2013

Starbucks Opening in Vietnam: Is this the Next Big Asian Growth Country?

Starbucks (SBUX) has been expanding all over the world and will now open its first coffee shop in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam has a fast growing economy. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the country spent almost $4.5 billion on Apple (AAPL) iPhones and other cells phone imports last year.

Vietnam is drawing the eyes of other companies. As an example, Siam Cement Group, based in Thailand, paid $240 million to purchase an 85% interest in Prime Group, one of the largest tile and brick manufacturers in Vietnam.

So if an American investor wants to participate in Vietnam's growth, there are some options available. According to the list of Vietnam stocks at, there are over a dozen companies that are either based in Vietnam or have large operations in Vietnam. Unfortunately, most of these companies are either very illiquid, have low market caps, or don't trade in the United States.

The best way to take advantage of the Vietnamese business expansion is through the Market Vectors Vietnam Exchange Traded Fund (VNM). The fund owns several Vietnam companies that would not be available to US investors, such as Vincom Joint Stock Company, Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank For Industry And Trade, Bao Viet Holdings, and the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, all of which make up about 30% of the portfolio.

The average price to earnings ratio is 10.6 and the average price to book value is 1.19. The fund pays a yield of 1.0%. Although the fund had a volatile year in 2012, it was actually up 22%. It started off the year well, spiking 4.7% on January 2.

For a free list of Vietnam stocks, go to

Disclosure: Author owns AAPL.


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