Foreign tourists in Saigon who want to get a feel for the Mekong Delta typically take a day trip to the Tien River and witness, at a one-stop shop, coconut-candy making, traditional dancing, honey bees doing their thing, and a small stretch of a brown stream from the seat of a canoe.
They are visiting the city of My Tho, which more than a tourist attraction is the site of a world-class fishing industry — and a golden opportunity for a small investor who wants to take a risk on an emerging market company.
The company, Hung Vuong Corporation, is publicly traded on the Ho Chi Minh stock exchange. It owns and operates four factories and eight farms in five Mekong Delta provinces, each with about a dozen ponds teeming with pangasius, a white fish also sold in US food stores as panga or swai.
Every morning in My Tho alone, the company harvests 300,000 pounds of fish, processes them in a facility that employs 1,500, packages the frozen products, and sends them to markets worldwide.
The facility we visited is a modern, high-tech factory with state-of-the-art equipment as well as hygienic and environmentally sustainable practices. Byproducts, such as fish fat, are harvested for industrial uses.
Hung Vuong has export revenue of $230 million this year and expects that to grow to $300 million in 2015. The market values the company at about $50 million. It has a price-to-earnings ratio just over 4, and a price below the book value. It pays a 14% dividend.
And all you need to buy a Vietnamese fishery in My Tho, or a share of it, is $1.11 (as of today) and a license to trade through a Vietnam brokerage.