Interest comes as Vinalines notifies Transport Ministry of plans for share sales.
Vinalines has officially reported to the Ministry of Transport on plans to transfer shares it owns in Quang Ninh Port.
It plans to divest all of its more than 49 million shares, equal to 98 per cent of the charter capital held by the State. This is considered a bold move because the government has previously stated that the State will retain 51 per cent of charter capital post-equitization in Quang Ninh Port, Saigon Port, Hai Phong Port, and Da Nang Port.
The move takes place just one month after the government agreed with a Ministry of Transport proposal on the sale of State capital in the port to domestic investors. Vinalines submitted two scenarios for the divestment. The first was to hold a public auction at the stock exchange, and the second was to sell directly, in case only one investor subscribed.
In the meantime, T&T JSC, a domestic investor, has expressed a desire to buy more than the 49 million shares the State is holding. Last month the boss of T&T and SBH Bank, Mr. Do Quang Hien, said he wanted to replace the State as the dominant shareholder and committed to developing the business in accordance with directions from the port’s management.
In August last year Mr. Hien sent documents to the Ministry of Transport requesting the transfer of 100 per cent of the State’s equity in Quang Ninh Port. In September he met with Vinalines to establish the port’s situation and its specific orientation.
Being the only one to express interest at this time will give T&T many advantages in becoming the dominant shareholder at Quang Ninh Port. However, according to some experts, once the plan to withdraw all capital by public auction is approved then T&T will likely have some competition. T&T is the only corporation so far that wants to take over all the capital held by Vinalines.
“The State’s policy to divest the entire capital in a major port like Quang Ninh Port is clearly very attractive, especially in the context of ongoing economic recovery,” one expert commented. “In addition, the amount of capital needed to become the controlling shareholder, of around VND500 billion ($23.435 million), would not be a major financial problem for domestic corporations.”
In the equitization plan for Quang Ninh Port approved by the Ministry of Transport in early 2014, the State is to hold 54 per cent of the charter capital, with 25 per cent to be sold to its employees and the public. However, after the unsuccessful IPO in May last year, the State still holds more than 98 per cent.