No limit for foreign ownership to boil the stock market this year

Tuesday, Feb 23, 2016 19:13

Allowing 100 percent foreign investment will be a hot trend in 2016 and help attract more investors. — Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) —Vinh Hoan Fisheries on Monday became the third listed company to offer 100 per cent of its ownership to foreign investors after Government Decree 60/2015/ND-CP took effect.

The decree, which took effect in September, allows foreign investment without limits in public companies that are not listed as conditional businesses, and in Government and corporate bonds.

Sai Gon Securities Inn (SSI) was the first to open itself completely to foreign investment in 2015. Everpia Vietnam JSC (EVE) did the same on February 3. EVE then quickly raised its foreign ownership to 58 per cent from 49 per cent. On February 19, EVE shares ended at VND 34,400(US$1.5), an increase of 32 per cent compared with when it had a room limit.

On Monday, after VHC announced foreigner investors could own 100 per cent of the company, shares in the fisheries company grew 0.9 per cent to reach VND34,200 in the HCM Stock Exchange.

After the annual general shareholder meeting at the beginning of the month, Hoang Huy Investment and Services JSC (HHS) was completing procedures to open the company to foreign investors.

At the same time, Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company or Vinamilk (VNM) consulted with shareholders about closing seven businesses. According to experts from HCM Securities Company (HSC), it was expected to open up to foreign investors.

Allowing 100 percent foreign investment would be a hot trend in 2016 and help attract more investors, according to a report by HSC .

The company said shares of companies expanding foreign ownership such as EVE, VHC, BIC and MBB increased sharply after their decision to open up.

Vu Bang, chairman of the State Securities Commission (SSC), said the SSC would release a draft circular that removed all obstacles in decree No. 60 and the investment law.

Since the decree took effect in September, local companies have had difficulties identifying as Vietnamese, because if foreigners make up 51 per cent or more of their investors, they must under law be listed as foreign businesses.

Level up the market status

Bang said the SSC would meet in March with Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), a US-based company that analyses equity and hedge fund stock market indexes, to ask it to improve the Vietnamese market's listing from Frontier Market to Emerging Market.

In 2013, Viet Nam did not have a better status, as index publisher refused to give the country the new status unless it eased up on foreign ownership limits.

According to Bloomberg data, the Qatar Exchange Index and the UAE's Abu Dhabi Securities Market General Index increased 38 per cent in the following 12 months after they were named Emerging Markets in June 2013.

The ADX General Index of Abu Dhabi reached its peak of 5,253.4 points on May 29, 2015, an increase of 115.3 per cent from May 31, 2013 when MSCI decided to boost its status to Emerging Market.

Qatar's stock market recorded foreign investment of $2.3 billion. Dubai's stock market received about $1.35 billion in foreign investment in 2014 after leveling its status.

In the first nine months of 2014, Indonesia's and the Philippines' stock markets gained $4.2 billion and $1.3 billion respectively from foreign investors after becoming Emerging Markets.

In 2014, the Vietnamese stock market recorded a foreign net buy of $175 million.

SSC planned a series of actions earlier this year to improve the local stock market. — VNS

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