Vinalines to trim holdings in Hai Phong, Saigon ports to 20%

The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) will reduce its holding in both the ports of Hai Phong and Saigon to 20 per cent, according to a government request.

Vinalines is still holding over 92 per cent in Hai Phong Port and 65 per cent in Saigon Port, following the two port operators’ IPOs.

Saigon Port, the largest in the country, sold 33 per cent of its equity to strategic investors and general buyers during the IPO in June last year. Vingroup, Vietnam’s leading property developer, had earlier eyed up to 80 per cent of the port but eventually drop the bid, leaving VPBank and Vietinbank in the race for the strategic ownership.

The real estate giant had simultaneously filed to purchase 80 per cent of Hai Phong Port. However, Vinalines was then planning to retain its control over the northern port company.

Other entities to be interested in the stakes include Vietinbank, the creditor of Hai Phong Port, and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund.

Being privatised since May 2014, Hai Phong Port was listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange in August last year. The stock price has increased 17 per cent since then and at times peaked to nearly VND25,000 ($1.11) per share, despite the concentrated ownership structure.

Meanwhile, the parent firm Vinalines was also told to make divestments from a spate of other smaller port companies across the country.

An earlier statement made by the government said practices showed that it had not been easy to call for large investments into the ports, so the resolution to drop state holding significantly was given. “In addition, Hai Phong and Saigon Ports are gradually losing their leading roles in the industry,” the statement added.

The communist country has started to become more opened to private investors to rekindle the effectiveness of its businesses. According to the latest government statistics, accumulated losses of 19 state corporations amounted to over VND24 trillion, in which Vinalines alone accounted for VND20.7 trillion.

However, the privatisation has been sluggishly implemented, even as Vietnam looked to sell state stakes at over 400 companies in 2015. According to data from the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City stock exchanges, only 143 IPOs were conducted last year on the two bourses, including some typical offers of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, Saigon Port and Vietnam National Tea Corporation.

Meanwhile, investors are looking for some blockbluster sales in 2016 of MobiFone, Saigon Trading Group, Ben Thanh Group and Saigon Beer, Alcohol and Beverage Corp.

Also Read:

Saigon Port sells entire 16.5% stake registered for IPO auction to raise $19m

Oman’s sovereign fund scores over home bidders in Vietnam’s Hai Phong Port stake sale

Vietnam based Vinalines plans to retain majority stake in Hai Phong Port

Vietnam looking at stake sale in big state firms like Mobifone & Sabeco in 2016

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.

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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.