An undated photo of a Vinamilk factory. Photo credit: Saigon Times
The government's investment arm SCIC will "gradually" sell its shares in Vietnam's largest dairy producer Vinamilk, where it currently owns a 45 percent stake, news website Saigon Times Online reported on Friday.
The company's shareholders will decide on SCIC's divestment process, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong was quoted as saying at an M&A forum in Ho Chi Minh City.
"Vinamilk is a business where the government does not need to have ownership," Dong said.
Dong's statement came amid reports that SCIC, the largest shareholder, has been trying to take control of the company, of which foreign investors own 49 percent.
Vinamilk, which had its initial public offering in 2003, is among companies that have reached the cap on foreign ownership.
However, in June the government approved a decree allowing foreign investors to own up to 100 percent of many listed companies, instead of 49 percent like now.
That means Vinamilk's shareholders now have the option of taking advantage of this new policy to attract more foreign investment.
As of last December 31, the dairy producer had a market capitalization of US$5 billion, the second highest in Vietnam.
With an annual growth of 22 percent, its revenues was estimated at over VND34.9 trillion ($1.58 billion) last year, including more than $200 million from exports.