PetroVietnam Gas to raise $301 mln in share sale

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PetroVietnam Gas Corp., a unit of Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, plans to raise at least VND5.87 trillion (US$301 million) in an initial share sale that may take place next month, General Director Do Khang Ninh said in an interview.

The company will sell 189.5 million shares, or a 10 percent stake, with a minimum bid of VND31,000 a share, Ninh said in a telephone interview Monday. Ho Chi Minh City-based PetroVietnam Gas will also sell a stake of about 15 percent to strategic investors, Ninh said. The company is still in the process of finding these partners, Ninh said.

"After the share sale we will gauge how the stock market is doing and choose a timing for the listing that is beneficial to shareholders," Ninh said. PetroVietnam Gas will probably be listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, the country's main bourse, a year after the share sale, according to a statement filed on the company's website.

The benchmark VN Index gained 1.6 percent to 466 at the 11 a.m. close, the highest since Aug. 9. The gauge dropped as much as 23 percent from its May 6 peak through Aug. 25, exceeding the 20 percent drop which analysts define as a bear market, as the third devaluation of the dong since November spurred concern the government would add to measures to plug the nation's deficit.

PetroVietnam Gas, which supplies fuel to produce 40 percent of Vietnam's electrical output and 30 percent of the nation's fertilizer, expects revenue to reach VND31 trillion this year from VND28.3 trillion in 2009, according to the statement on its website. Net income will be about VND3 trillion, down from last year's profit of VND3.2 trillion.

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