Vietnam Airlines raises $51 million in IPO

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A Vietnam Airlines aircraft prepares to land at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi November 14, 2014. Photo credit: Reuters A Vietnam Airlines aircraft prepares to land at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi November 14, 2014. Photo credit: Reuters

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Vietnam Airlines raised roughly VND1.09 trillion (US$51.3 million) in its initial public offering on Friday, meeting its expectations though the state-owned carrier failed to attract foreign buying.
The Hanoi-based airline sold out 49 million shares, or a 3.48 percent stake, at the offering price of VND22,300 a share, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange said.
Two local banks purchased most of the shares offered. Techcombank bought 25.8 million shares, or 52 percent, while Vietcombank bought 22.6 million shares, or 46 percent.
Earlier this month, Vietnam Airlines sold around 21.5 million shares, or a 1.5 percent stake, to its employees. The carrier has yet to find strategic investors to sell a 20 percent stake.
Nguyen Hong Truong, Deputy Transport Minister, told the media after the IPO that strategic investors may think a 20 percent stake is too small to influence on corporate governance.
After the privatization, the government will retain a 75 percent controlling stake in the Vietnam Airlines whose registered capital is around VND14 trillion ($661 million).
In the coming time, the transport ministry will properly adjust the offered stake ratio to meet investors’ expectations, Truong said.
Vietnam Airlines said it expects to list within a year of completing the privatization process, which it aims to finish by the end of March. It has not decided which of the country’s two stock exchanges will carry the shares, Chairman Pham Viet Thanh said at a roadshow in Hanoi on Oct. 31.
The airline operates 39 domestic and 52 international routes with 83 aircraft, Saigon Securities Inc. wrote in a note dated Nov. 6.
It flew 20.7 million passengers last year, 18 percent more than 2012, according to a Nov. 6 note from BIDV Securities Co., or BSC, a consultant in the IPO.
Internal air travel is forecast to grow 15 percent a year through 2018, BSC said.

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