Vietnam Property Holding (VPH), the real estate fund of Saigon Asset Management Company, has registered to sell its entire holding of 2.2 million shares in Vietnam-based realty firm Century 21 JSC, following disputes over the de-listing plan of the company, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.
The shares that represent a 12 per cent stake in the company, will be sold within a month, beginning June 24. Louis Nguyen from VPH is currently sitting on Century 21’s managing board.
The property developer decided to delist, stating that it could not efficiently raise money through the stock market. The company’s stock is being traded at around VND20,000-22,000 (around $1), far below its book value of VND28,000, Century 21 executives explained during a meeting in April. The company is buying back some 4.8 million shares to ratchet up the delisting process.
However, a group of its shareholders have rejected the plan, saying that Century 21 is trying to flee from market pressure instead of coping with it.
VPH invested $5 million in the company five years ago, for its growth potential and because Century 21 had favourable land locations, Louis said.
However, delisting will definitely create a bad precedent that will lead to the divestment of foreign funds and a negative impression on the local stock market, he warned at the shareholder meeting.
Mutual Fund Elite, the Finnish investor which is holding six per cent in Century 21, also stressed the fact that leaving the stock market will make the company less transparent and is a step backward.
Despite saying that listing shares was not supportive in raising funds, Century 21 reported a 41 per cent growth in profit after tax, last fiscal, to reach VND37.5 billion. However, it targets only VND18.3 billion for this year.
VPH is a Cayman Islands incorporated open-ended fund with investment focus on the Vietnamese listed property equities and some opportunistic private equity. In 2014, it achieved a 54 per cent return.
Other top holdings in VPH portfolio (besides Century 21) include NBB Investment Corp, affiliated with Cienco 5, a state-owned construction company under the Ministry of Transportation, Industrial Urban Development JSC No 2, Vinaconex and Thu Duc Housing Development.