Vietnam Airlines eyes public listing, further strategic share sale in two years

Vietnam’s flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, which is 86.16 per cent owned by the local government, said it will be publicly listed next year.

The company has not decided which bourse to float its shares on, local media cited a company representative as saying at a product launch in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday.

Vietnam has two stock exchanges for listed businesses, Hanoi Stock Exchange and Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, or HOSE, home to the country’s biggest companies.

Vietnam Airlines shares are currently traded on the Unlisted Public Companies Market (UPCoM) under the ticker HVN. The state-owned carrier was privatised in 2014 but only got to the stock market earlier this year. Its capitalisation is estimated at some $1.5 billion.

The 2014 IPO saw only 3.47 per cent of its equity sold as it failed to lure any foreign investors. Two local lenders, Vietcombank and Techcombank, subscribed to 98 per cent of the stake.

In 2016, Vietnam Airlines completed the sale of an 8.8 per cent stake to Japan’s ANA Holdings as a strategic shareholder, raising $108 million.

The company will seek more strategic investors to facilitate the government’s divestment plan, according to local media.

Under the country’s recent divestment pipeline, the state ownership in Vietnam Airlines will be required to go down by 35.16 per cent to 51 per cent in 2019.

The carrier enjoyed a 20 per cent year-on-year expansion in consolidated revenue, which reached VND65 trillion for the first nine months of 2017, resulting in a profit before tax of VND2.31 trillion.

Even as the business is making profit, Vietnam Airlines’ market share is being eaten up by rivals from the private sector. Reports several months ago said private budget airline Vietjet had surpassed the national carrier in terms of domestic flight market share.

While Vietnam Airlines’ market capitalisation has declined by some 30 per cent since its debut, HOSE-listed Vietjet has witnessed a 45 per cent jump in its stock price. Its rival was backed by international private equity firms and investment funds prior to the listing. It is also considering a listing in an overseas market.

Also read:

Vietnam plans to offload stakes in top aviation firms by up to 30%

Value of Vietnam’s ‘bikini airline’ Vietjet surpasses national carrier