Vietnam Airlines looks to sell shares to foreign investor soon

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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A Boeing Co. B787-9 Dreamliner, operated by Vietnam Airlines, performs a flying display on the opening day of the 51st International Paris Air Show on June 15 2015. Photo: Bloomberg A Boeing Co. B787-9 Dreamliner, operated by Vietnam Airlines, performs a flying display on the opening day of the 51st International Paris Air Show on June 15 2015. Photo: Bloomberg

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After an initial public offering that failed to attract foreign investors a year ago, Vietnam Airlines now looks to ink a deal with a foreign strategic partner to help it become one of the biggest carriers in Southeast Asia.
Speaking at a meeting with the transport ministry on Wednesday, CEO Pham Ngoc Minh said it is going to conclude talks with the potential investor, possibly sometime between this month and early next month.
Once the negotiations are completed, the airlines will submit the share sale plan to the government for approval, before signing a contract in the first quarter, he said.
Minh did not reveal the potential investor's identity as well as the amount of state-owned stake intended for the sale.
At a shareholders' meeting in March, Vietnam Airlines announced that it will sell about a 20 percent stake to a maximum of three strategic investors.
In October international media reported that Japan's All Nippon Airways was discussing with the flag carrier about the possibility of a deal. 
Vietnam Airlines sold 49 million shares, or a 3.48 percent stake, in its IPO in November last year, raising nearly VND1.1 trillion (US$48.7 million).
Currently controlling 47.6 percent of Vietnam's passenger air market, the carrier posted a pre-tax profit of over VND1.3 trillion ($57.55 million) in the first nine months, nearly twice the figure of the same period last year, local media reported.
Under the transport ministry's plan, the airline has to sell its stakes in 15 out of 33 subsidiaries in 2011-15.
It has so far completed its divestment in 12 targeted businesses, raising VND734 billion ($32.49 million) from selling its stakes, according to media reports.

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