Hanoi selling port stakes to lure foreign investors

Hanoi: The Vietnamese government has decided to sell state stakes in the country’s seaports in order to attract more interest from foreign investors.

More than 90% of Nha Trang Port Company's stakes went unsold after its IPO in May, while Quang Ninh Port Company and Hai Phong Port Company sold only 6% to 7% each. Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines)'s IPO also witnessed disappointing results.

Experts blamed the failures on the fact that the government still holds majority stakes (75%) in these companies, making them unappealing to investors, particularly foreign partners.

The Ministry of Transport has ordered Vinalines to build a plan to reduce state capital invested in these firms. All seaports in the country will be equitized. The state will only retain majority stakes in seven big ports include Haiphong, Quang Ninh, Danang, Saigon, Cantho, Nghe Tinh and Cam Ranh.

The government will lower its stake from 75% to 51% in Haiphong, Quang Ninh, Danang and Saigon, while it will lower its stake to 49% in the other three ports.

Vietnam Oman Investments Joint Stock Company, a joint venture between the State of Oman and the State Capital Investment Corporation of Vietnam, is looking to buy about 20% of the state capital in Hai Phong Port Company. [27/11/14]

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