Vinalines, a state shipping giant that has been drowned in debts over the past few years, will have to sell its entire stakes in nine seaports around the country, the government's office announced on Wednesday.
The divestment will come after the group's initial public offering. A timeframe has not been released, but there have been reports suggesting that an IPO is likely this year following several delays since 2014.
The target ports include Cai Lan in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Dinh Vu and Transvina in the northern city of Hai Phong, and Khuyen Luong in Hanoi.
Others are Cam Ranh and Da Nang on the central coast, Nghe Tinh Port in Nghe An Province, Can Tho, and Nam Can in the southernmost province of Ca Mau.
Vinalines will also have to submit plans to sell shares in three foreign-invested ports at the Cai Mep-Thi Vai complex in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau in the first quarter, the office said.
The ports are Cai Mep International Terminal, a joint-venture with the Netherlands-headquartered APM Terminals, SSIT with US-owned SSA Marine's subsidiary SSA Holdings International - Vietnam, and SP-PSA with Singaporean-owned PSA Vietnam Pte. Ltd. They have all suffered losses since opening a few years ago.
The government also reaffirmed that Vinalines will have to reduce its stakes in Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon Port and Hai Phong Port in the northern city.
Vinalines currently owns 64 percent and 92.56 percent of the ports, respectively, and will have to bring the levels down to 20 percent.
Early last year local media reported that the shipping firm, which had piled up debts of more than VND32.28 trillion (US$1.41 billion) by the end of 2014, would sell VND9.3 trillion ($408.16 million) worth of shares, or 64 percent of its charter capital in an IPO.