© Reuters. VinFast electric vehicles are parked before delivery to their first customers at a store in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 1, 2023. REUTERS/Lisa Baertlein/File Photo

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast has reported a drop in first-quarter revenue by 49%, with a net loss deepening to $598 million in the first full reporting period since it started exporting to the United States.

VinFast made the disclosure in a filing late on Thursday with U.S. securities regulators as it looks to complete a merger with a blank-check company next month that will value the automaker at $23 billion.

The quarterly net loss compared with a loss of $411 million in the same period a year earlier. In 2022, VinFast lost $2.1 billion.

It attributed the quarterly revenue decline, to almost $84 million, to lower selling prices and its phase-out of internal combustion vehicles as it pivoted to become a dedicated EV maker.

The automaker, which had filed earlier for a U.S. initial public offering, announced last month it would go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Black Spade Acquisition Co.

VinFast and Black Spade target completion of the merger by July 20, they said in Thursday’s filing.

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The VinFast valuation was based on Black Spade’s determination that VinFast was comparable with EV maker Lucid “given their similarity in revenue scale and shared global target market with a near-term emphasis on U.S. sales.”

Lucid went public in 2021 via SPAC, the filing said. Its market capitalisation, which was $23 billion at the time of its listing, was worth $13 billion as of Thursday’s close.

VinFast faces competition from established rivals led by Tesla (NASDAQ:) that have been bringing a range of new EVs to market amid a weakening global economy.

VinFast founder Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s richest man, last month told Vingroup shareholders VinFast could break even as soon as the end of 2024.

He said it expects to sell as many as 50,000 units this year, an almost seven-fold increase over 2022 as it ramps up exports to North America and starts shipping to Europe.

VinFast began operations in 2019 and has a plant in Vietnam and plans for a second one in North Carolina.

It has shipped about 3,000 EVs to North America and expects to deliver the longer-range of its VF (NYSE:) 8 SUV to customers this month.

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