Oman’s SGRF vies for controlling stake in Vietnam’s Hai Phong Port

A view of Hai Phong Port

Oman’s State General Reserve Fund (SGRF)has proposed to the Vietnamese Government that it is willing to purchase shares of Hai Phong Port if the local government offloads more than the intended 29.68 per cent.The fund plans to do the transaction through its Vietnam Oman Investments (VOI Fund) joint venture with the Vietnam State Capital Investment Corporation.

This overture is likely to compete with Vietnamese companies, which are in the race to gain a majority stake in the northern biggest port of the country. Previously, Vietnam’s realty major Vingroup, led by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, has shown its interest in up to 80 per cent in the port.

Also read: Vietnam realty major Vingroup eyes stake in Saigon & Hai Phong Ports

Meanwhile, the Oman sovereign fund stated that it will work with local investors to form an investment combination, if the purchase of the entire state capital in Hai Phong Port is in excess of the foreign ownership limit, as regulated by the Vietnamese law.

Prior to the proposal, the VOI Fund has already received in-principle approval by the Vietnamese prime minister, to acquire 29.68 per cent in Hai Phong Port, from the 94.68 per cent held by the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines).

In addition, SGRF has committed to support the port with $2 million, per year, for a three-year term for the costs of human resources and management. This will help to transform the port into an important link of the international port system.

Oman’s largest wealth fund, established in 1980, has a total asset of $35 billion. It has also invested in a spate of seaports in Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium and Brazil.

When compared with Vingroup, the fund has the advantages not only in terms of investment experience in ports, it also has the superior position of a 23 year diplomatic relation with Vietnam.

The two countries have signed nine bilateral agreements. In 2014, two-way trade turnover reached $65 million, while the VOI Fund has invested some $51 million in Vietnam in the banking, hydropower, healthcare and infrastructure sectors.

Vietnam’s minister of transport Dinh La Thang also shared his view that the country needs to develop the operation of the Vinalines ports rather than keep them state-owned. By acquiring a majority of stake, the investors will be able to commit long-term and effective resources to the ports, Thang explained.

Related stories:

Vinalines to raise $93.5m via ports divestment

Vinalines to launch IPO in Q1

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.