By Phuong Nguyen and Chavi Mehta
(Reuters) -Vietnamese electric car maker VinFast said on Thursday its third-quarter revenue more than doubled with the largest share of its sales going to an affiliate company owned by its founder.
About 60% of VinFast’s deliveries, or more than 6,000 vehicles, went to Green SM (GSM), a Vietnam-based taxi operator and leasing provider 95% owned by VinFast’s founder, Pham Nhat Vuong, executives said on a call with analysts.
VinFast had not provided that breakdown in its published earnings.
For the past two quarters GSM has accounted for about two-thirds of VinFast’s sales.
VinFast recorded $343 million in revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30, up 159% on the year. Its net loss widened 33.7% to $623 million.
The company has a target of hitting break even within two years and running its factory in Vietnam at full capacity by then. The factory in Haiphong has the capacity to produce 250,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year but has been running far short of that.
GSM launched Vietnam’s first pure EV taxi service earlier this year with a target of starting with 600 VinFast EVs. It also operates a ride service with VinFast electric scooters, executives said.
It was not immediately clear how many of the 13,000 vehicles GSM has bought from VinFast over the past two quarters would go into its fleet or how many it would hold to lease to customers.
VinFast Chief Executive Le Thi Thu Thuy said VinFast planned to expand its partnership with GSM to include Indonesia and India, where it is setting up smaller-scale factories that will assemble vehicles shipped in parts from Vietnam.
“For VinFast, GSM is a very good partner,” she told analysts. “There have been an overwhelming number of questions over GSM.”
Executives said VinFast expected to have its first U.S. franchise dealership open by the end of the year and was considering proposals from 27 dealers to sell its vehicles, including a second model, the VF 9, it expects to launch this year.
VinFast, which was formed in 2017 and began making EVs in 2021, plans to set up kit assembly plants in both India and Indonesia to take advantage of EV incentives on offer in those markets, Thuy said.
VinFast has entered the market at a time when EV prices are under pressure, led by cuts at market leader Tesla and a range of Chinese companies.
VinFast, backed by Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, listed on the Nasdaq in August after a merger with a blank-check company.
Shares in VinFast were up 4.5% at $8.4 each by 1410 GMT.
The company, which ended the quarter with $130 million in cash, said it expected to receive around $1.2 billion in grants from its parent company, its founder Vuong, and two key shareholders in the next six months.
(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen in Hanoi and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Mark Potter and Kevin Krolicki)