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Vietnam tells privatised firms to expedite share listings
October 7, 2016 / 6:46 AM / a year ago

Vietnam tells privatised firms to expedite share listings

HANOI, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The Vietnamese government has told privatised state-owned enterprises (SOEs) speed up listing shares on the stock exchange, a deputy premier said, signalling Hanoi’s commitment to its much criticised privatisation process.

Ministries, provincial governments and state corporations have been told to get firms under their control to accelerate listings, which would include big players like flag carrier Vietnam Airlines IPO-VAL.HM and garment maker Vinatex.

The firms, valued at $1.2 billion and $2.45 billion respectively, are among dozens that have ignored a mandatory requirement to join an exchange within one-year of their partial-privatisation.

In Vietnam, initial public offerings (IPOs) and listing are two separate stages.

The government’s news website quoted Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue as saying authorities should report their progress to the government by Nov. 1.

The move to get firms to list on the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City bourses comes as the government presses for its most sought-after brewers Sabeco and Habeco to list sometime between November and March. Once they have made their debut the government aims to sell state stakes worth $2.2 billion.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Sabeco, known for its Bia Saigon and 333 brews, may list by late November or early December, its chief executive officer told Reuters on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, deputy industry and trade minister Hoang Quoc Vuong said listings of Sabeco and smaller brewer Habeco could be delayed until the first quarter of 2017.

Many other major firms have yet to list more than a year since their IPOs, breaking a government ruling that lacks enforcement while the fine is just around $6,700.

While the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange is Asia’s second best performer so far this year with a rise of nearly 19 percent based on Reuters data, foreign investors remain frustrated over the slow process Vietnam refers to as “equitisation”.

Officials argue crossover regulations have delayed privatisation, while some businessmen say executives are also cautious about rushing and fear facing jail terms for causing losses to the state. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Martin Petty and Simon Cameron-Moore)

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