With the stock market losing steam, enthusiasm is cooling among companies to list their shares on the country's two main stock exchanges.
In the first half only seven firms listed, according to the State Securities Commission (SSC), compared to 25 last year.
There are few applicants in line for the rest of the year.
Saigon Times newspaper quoted Do Tuan, head of the Hanoi Securities Trading Center's unit that handles assessment, as saying companies are more cautious about listing since the market has lost momentum.
It is difficult for firms to raise money at the moment, he said.
A director of a construction firm listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, who asked not to be named, said his company listed shares in 2010 following a slew of listings by real-estate companies, and the market slowed down a few months later.
His company's shares fell from VND24,000 then to VND3,600.
He said his company is "stuck" as it is unable to raise money through this channel while delisting would dent its reputation.
Analysts also blame tighter regulations, including higher capital requirement for new listings, for the decreasing number of firms seeking to list.
Last year the SSC demanded that companies targeting the HCMC Stock Exchange must have at least VND120 billion ($5.65 million) in registered capital, compared with VND80 billion earlier. For the Hanoi Stock Exchange, it went up from VND10 billion to VND30 billion.
Twenty one companies delisted in the first half. Of them 16 were forced to delist under SCC rules that stipulate that a company making losses in excess of its capital or for three consecutive years has to delist.
Investors, both local and overseas, are waiting for big state-owned firms to come out with IPOs and listings, but many of them including telco Mobifone, clothing manufacturer Vinatex, and Vietnam Airlines have long delayed the plan.
They have said they would wait until the market situation improves. In Vietnam an IPO is separated from a listing, which can come several years after the shares have been sold to the market.
The HCMC Stock Exchange's benchmark VN-index has gained 17 percent this year.
Vietnam remains popular with foreign portfolio investors, half of whom said the country is still more attractive than its neighbors, according to a recent report released by business consultant Grant Thornton.
That represents an increase of 14 percentage points from the fourth quarter of last year.
Despite the economic downturn, the number of respondents who expected to increase their investment in the country rose 13 percentage points year-on-year to 45 percent.
Healthcare and pharmaceutical are the most attractive sectors, followed by education and retail, they said.
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