Vietnam to sell part of MobiFone, BIDV in 2010: PM

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Vietnam plans to sell stakes in leading telecoms firm MobiFone, the country's top oil product distributor Petrolimex and state lender BIDV this year among major state-owned companies, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said.

The sale of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), which also include textiles and steel corporations, is part of Vietnam's effort to complete a restructuring of the state sector that began in 1992, Dung told Reuters.

"The target is that by 2015 Vietnam will basically complete the work of restructuring SOEs," Dung said in written answers to questions from Reuters.

Most public offerings of state-owned firms in Vietnam leave the state with a majority stake, and they are often referred to as "equitisations."

Dung did not give specific timing for the sales of stakes in the three firms.

The sale of shares in MobiFone, a mobile phone operator owned by state group VNPT, had been scheduled for the second quarter of 2009 but has been delayed. Local media early last year cited a Credit Suisse report that valued the firm, which has subscribers across the country, at US$2 billion.

BIDV, or the Bank for Development and Investment of Vietnam, is the second-largest lender by assets after state-run Agribank. A partial sale of BIDV has been expected for years after minority stakes in Vietcombank and Vietinbank were floated on the stock exchange.

Hanoi-based Petrolimex commands 55 percent of Vietnam's retail fuel market.

State-owned companies, including oil group Petrovietnam and Vietnam Electricity, currently account for 40 percent of Vietnam's gross domestic product, which grew 5.32 percent last year to nearly $92 billion, government figures show.

Dung said that by the end of 2015 there would still be 400 businesses wholly owned by the state, including those operating in the areas of security, defense and other key economic sectors.

"Vietnam encourages enterprises of all economic sectors, including the sector with foreign direct investment, to develop without any limits on their size," Dung said.

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