Shares of Hoa Phat Corporation, Vietnam’s biggest steel maker, have doubled since their March low, propelling Tran Dinh Long, the company’s cofounder and chairman back into the billionaire ranks after a two year gap. Tran, who owns roughly 34% of Hoa Phat with his wife and son, and last appeared on Forbes’ World Billionaires list in 2018, is now worth nearly $1.4 billion.
The surge in Hoa Phat’s shares was due to the company’s impressive performance so far this year. Hoa Phat reported a 40% rise in revenue to $2.8 billion and a 56% jump in net profit to $385 million for the nine-month period ending September 2020. Analysts estimate that once the company’s new $2.6 billion Dung Quat steel complex in the central province of Quang Ngai, becomes fully operational by early 2021, Hoa Phat’s market share in construction steel will increase to 35% from 30%.
Tran, who was born and raised in Hanoi, started Hoa Phat as an equipment and parts distributor in 1992. He grew it into a maker of office equipment, steel pipes and construction steel, listing the company in 2007. In 2015, the company diversified into agriculture, a business that today contributes 12% to revenue and 15% to net profit. Hoa Phat’s steel expansion took place in 2017 with the 4 million tonne Dung Quat project, which is now paying off.
Despite the pandemic, Vietnam’s steel industry is poised for growth on increased investment in infrastructure coupled with an economic revival, which is expected to attract foreign direct investment. Hoa Phat is among several big Vietnamese companies benefiting from the government’s successful efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak. Vietnam has so far reported 1,140 Covid-19 cases, with a death ratio of 0.4 per million people, among the lowest in the world. It has reported no new cases for 50 consecutive days.