Vietnam Airlines plans IPO, to start restructuring this year

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The state-owned Vietnam Airlines Corporation will make an initial public offering this year and offload its stakes in 10 businesses from now through 2015, Saigon Tiep Thi reported.

Under a recently approved restructuring program, the government will own 65-75 percent of the airline after the IPO.

The corporation will pull out of several businesses it has stakes in, including Techcombank, Bao Minh Insurance, and France Telecom.

But it will continue to fully own the Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company,and hold more than 50 percent in 14 companies, including budget carrier Jetstar Pacific.

Cambodia Angkor Air will be among 11 other companies in which it will own less than 50 percent. 

Vietnam Airlines hopes to become Southeast Asia's third largest airline, providing four-star services, by 2015.

The magazine quoted a recent report from the airline as saying that for the first time in its history domestic passenger numbers declined last year though turnover was up 6.3 percent at VND50.89 trillion ($2.4 billion).

There is bruising competition on routes like Hanoi Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi/HCMC Da Nang, and Hanoi-Nha Trang, the report said.

Speaking at a meeting with the government last week, Vietnam Airlines chairman Pham Viet Thanh blamed the situation on increasing costs though the carrier had cut down on the number of foreign pilots and experts last year.

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