Vietnam to ease foreign ownership cap: report

Thanh Nien News

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A sign for the Hanoi Stock Exchange is displayed on the stock exchange building in Hanoi. Photo: Bloomberg A sign for the Hanoi Stock Exchange is displayed on the stock exchange building in Hanoi. Photo: Bloomberg

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Vietnamese government has approved a new decree allowing foreign investors to buy up to 100 percent of stocks at many listed companies, news website Saigon Times Online reported on Friday.
The decree came at a time when tens of companies have already reached their limits like the IT giant FPT and Vinamilk, it said.
Currently, foreigners are allowed to own up to 49 percent of stakes in Vietnamese firms, and 30 percent in banks.
Although the new rule retains the foreign ownership cap for banks, limits are removed in most other sectors, Vu Bang, chairman of the State Securities Commission (SSC), said.
Businesses now can decide how many of shares to put up for sales, and the new rates are applicable once they are registered with the SSC, according to Bang.
Many economists hoped that the the move, which came more than two years after the SSC first proposed for increasing foreigners' ownership, will help boost Vietnam's stock market.
Vietnam's stock market capitalization was around US$46 billion, or 25 percent of its gross domestic product, Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Nguyen Kien, representative of the Vietnam Business Forum's capital market group, as saying at the forum's recent session.
The value was "small" compared to other countries in the Southeast Asian like Thailand which posted the cap at around $418 billion, Kien said.

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