Vingroup has officially expressed a desire to buy Vietnam's two largest ports, according to MoT.
Vingroup has proposed buying 80 per cent of the State capital, represented by Vinalines, in Haiphong Port. Vinalines currently holds 94.68 per cent and the sale price would be no less than the average bid price current investors outlaid.
As for Saigon Port, Vingroup proposed it buy 80 per cent of shares when the State divests, at a price no less than the planned price for the IPO in the first half of this year. The corporation has also proposed it participate in the process of preparing Saigon Port’s equitization plan. The port’s value has been put at VND3.955 trillion ($184.95 million) and the value of State capital is VND2.162 trillion ($101.14 million).
However, the State must hold a minimum of 51 per cent of its charter capital, according to current policy. As Vingroup’s proposal exceeds this, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) said the proposal will be submitted to the government for consideration.
Other obstacles remain for the Vingroup proposals to go ahead. The Vietnam - Oman Investment JSC (VOI), a member of Oman’s National Reserve Fund, has many times expressed an interest in becoming a strategic partner of Haiphong Port. The foreign investment fund has already submitted documents to authorities on buying nearly 30 per cent of the port at an agreed price. The proposal has been commented on favorably by ministries.
Despite apparently not having any competition in pursuing Saigon Port, Vingroup still faces obstacles in the port’s selection criteria for strategic partners. Vinalines has said that candidates must have a primary business interest in the freight industry or at least operate in logistics or manage and operate seaports. The minimum possible experience should be five years.
Vingroup is a familiar name in the field of seaports and has dealt with Vinalines previously. It took over Nha Trang Port from Vinalines last year under a government request.
Vingroup leaders said that, once it gains approval, the corporation will adopt advanced management models to improve business performance at the ports. If all goes to plan this will be the biggest deal ever in Vietnam’s seaport infrastructure.