Oman interested in buying State's Hai Phong stake

Monday, Mar 30, 2015 16:33

Hai Phong port - the busiest seaport in northern Viet Nam. — Photo

HAI PHONG — The State General Reserve Fund of Oman (SGRF) has offered to buy all the State-owned stake in the Hai Phong Port Joint Stock Company.

However, the offer is based on the condition that the rate of State capital withdrawal should exceed 29.68 per cent as planned.

This is part of SGRF's plan submitted to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for approval to become a strategic investor in the Hai Phong port, the busiest seaport in northern Viet Nam.

If the State capital withdrawal exceeded the rate that foreign investors are allowed to own under the current regulations of Viet Nam, the firm would be willing to co-operate with domestic investors introduced or appointed by the Vietnamese Government to set up a joint complex of investors, a representative from SGRF told VnExpress.

The fund would also commit to providing financial aid of around $2 million in three years to help in training and technical assistance for improving operational efficiency at the Hai Phong port. This would help transform the port into a more important link in the global chain of seaports.

Earlier, a joint venture between the Fund and the State Capital Investment Corporation of Viet Nam, named Viet Nam-Oman Investment (VOI), got approval of the Prime Minister for buying nearly 30 per cent of the State-owned stake in the Hai Phong Port.

Last month, Viet Nam's largest property developer Vingroup had also offered to buy 80 per cent of the State-owned stake in the Hai Phong port and said it would pay no less than the price investors had paid to become the port's shareholders.

The VND3.27 trillion (US$155 million) port had its IPO last year, but nearly 95 per cent of its shares still belong to State-owned shipping giant Vinalines.

A decision approved by the PM last year only allowed private investors to own up to a quarter of the total stake in airports and seaports. But after the IPO of Hai Phong Port failed to attract investors, the government had decided to raise the private ownership cap to 49 per cent.

At a recent meeting on State enterprise equitisation, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang had proposed to the PM to consider the plan to sell the Hai Phong and Sai Gon ports entirely to private investors.

Many people were worried about selling majority stakes in these ports to private enterprises, but the country and Hai Phong city needed well-developed ports, regardless of whether they were owned by the State or private enterprises, he said.— VNS

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