Asset regulation slowing down SOE privatization: report

TN News

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A regulation requiring state-owned enterprises to retain the value of their assets has hindered the process of share sales in Vietnam, the Dau Tu newspaper reports.

It cited Dinh Quang Tri, deputy chief executive of Electricity of Vietnam, as saying the privatization of SOEs is not happening as fast as expected partly because they are not allowed to sell stakes to investors at a lower price than the book value.

For instance, some investors agreed to buy EVN's stakes in other companies but they offered less than what EVN had paid earlier. As a result, the company could not accept the offers. 

Tri said in order to boost privatization, the government needs to give SOEs more autonomy and allow them to sell shares at market value. For companies that the government wants to divest completely from, it is necessary to accept losses and sell shares below their original value, he added

Nobody is "brave enough" to sell shares of their companies knowing that they face the risk of being accused of losing state money, Tri said.

Deputy Finance Minister Tran Van Hieu agreed that there should be more guidelines concerning the issue.

Hieu said while the value of state assets should be protected, speeding up share sales can help companies restructure their business and clear debts.

The Ministry of Finance plans to privatize 367 firms by 2015. As many as 93 state-owned enterprises will go public this year.

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