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Haiphong Port to sell to VOI

Released at: 15:35, 23/01/2015

Haiphong Port to sell to VOI

Omani investor to buy nearly 30 per cent of northern port.

by Son Ho

Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) is expected to receive VND1.34 trillion ($62.739 million) from the sale of 29.68 per cent of Haiphong Port to the Vietnam Oman Investment (VOI) JSC.

The sale, equal to 97 million shares, will reduce State capital in the Port from 94.68 per cent to 65 per cent. If the share price was to be VND10,000 ($0.468), in accordance with the IPO plan, the sale would only fetch some VND970 billion. But Vinalines said that the price would not be lower than the average bid price in the Port's IPO last May, of VND13,800 ($0.646) per share, so the sale should bring in VND1.34 trillion ($62.739 million).

The government has permitted Vinalines to sell shares at this latter price. However, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said that Vinalines should pay attention to the Ministry of Planning and Investment's suggestion on the form of the sale, which is to conduct a public auction to ensure the highest benefit for the State. "If Vinalines decides to sell directly, they must clarify the advantages and limitations as well as the effectiveness of such a method," the Ministry has said.

In the new plan, however, the General Maritime Corporation maintains the best method is via a direct agreement.

Vinalines argued that an auction would likely be as ineffective as its two previous auctions, where Haiphong Port was only able to sell around 17 million shares, or 5.5 per cent of its charter capital. It may also face stiff competition from other upcoming IPOs of seaports.

In addition, VOI, a member of Oman's National Reserve Fund, is unable to participate in auctions under Oman's investment rules, so Vinalines sees a direct agreement as the best way forward.

As at the end of 2014 Hai Phong Port had charter capital of nearly VND3,270 billion ($153.101 million). It profit last year was nearly VND180 billion ($8.428 million) on revenue of VND1.47 trillion ($68.825 million).

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