Vietnam gov't has no plan to divest from Vinamilk this year

By Hong Suong, Thanh Nien News

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After tantalizing investors since last year with supposed plans to sell out its stakes in 10 major companies, including diary giant Vinamilk and information technology leader FPT, the government has decided to go slow.
The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), Vietnam’s sovereign fund, recently announced a list of 120 companies in which it would sell the government’s stakes worth more than VND6.3 trillion (US$278.06 million) this year.
But of the major companies, it includes only FPT and Sa Giang Import and Export Corporation, in which SCIC holds 6 and 50 percent stakes.
SCIC's latest plan came less than two weeks after it and other shareholders of Vinamilk voted to remove the 49 percent limit for foreign ownership. The fund owns 45 percent of the diary company, while foreign investors have already hit their limit with Singapore's F&N Dairy Investment holding 11 percent.
Besides Vinamilk, other major companies that are off the list include insurer Bao Minh Group, Binh Minh Plastic Joint-stock Company, and Vietnam Reinsurance Corporation. SCIC's stakes in them range from 37.1 to 50.7 percent.
"SCIC will sell its stakes only when it has new investments that are more profitable," news website VnExpress quoted SCIC chairman Nguyen Duc Chi as saying at a recent press conference.
The fund reportedly earned around VND5.06 trillion ($223.42 million) in dividends last year, more than 53 percent of it from Vinamilk. That was equivalent to nearly half of its revenue which included the sale of shares.
SCIC now has stakes in 197 companies which have a combined market value of nearly VND95.7 trillion ($4.22 billion), according to VnExpress. Its holdings are equivalent to 23 percent of the companies' combined charter capital.

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