Vietnam's Saigon Port plans to raise at least $19 mln in IPO


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Saigon Port. Photo courtesy of Huu Vinh/Tien Phong Saigon Port. Photo courtesy of Huu Vinh/Tien Phong
Saigon Port Co, the operator of Vietnam's most important port, plans to raise at least $19 million through an initial public offering later this month, the company said on Wednesday, making it the most attractive state share sale this year.
The firm operating the 152-year-old port in the country's south planned to sell nearly 35.71 million shares, or 16.51 percent of the company, in the IPO on June 30 at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, with the share's starting price of 11,500 dong ($0.53), it said in a statement via the exchange.
It was not immediately clear when and where the firm would list its shares. IPOs and listings in Vietnam are two separate processes.
Vietnam has been pursuing a broad but protracted programme of liberal reforms, including partial state-sector privatisation and giving greater room for foreign investment, as interest grows in one of Asia's fastest growing economies.
The country, which is the world's largest producer of robusta coffee and the third-largest rice exporter after India and Thailand, has seen investment interest in sectors ranging from clothing and high-tech manufacturing to retail and agribusiness.
Saigon Port, which has a registered capital of 2.16 trillion dong, also planned to sell a further 16.51 percent stake to strategic investors and 2.98 percent to employees, it said in the statement.
The port, fully owned by state-run Vietnam National Shipping Lines, or Vinalines, said it wanted to pick strategic investors on June 25 and complete the deal in July, without specifying the names of the preferred investors or the deal value.
After the IPO, Vinalines' holding will reduce to 64 percent, Saigon Port, which handles most of Vietnam's key export items such as rice, coffee, footwear and textiles, said.
Property firm Vingroup has registered to buy 80 percent of Saigon Port, while Hanoi-based lenders VietinBank and unlisted VP Bank have each sought a 11-percent stake, the port operator said in another statement posted on its website,
Vietnam aims to partially privatise 432 state-owned enterprises, which take up half of the country's loans but contribute to only a third of its $184 billion economy, government data as of 2014 showed.
Investors are keenly looking at Saigon Port's IPO, along with that of leading mobile phone network provider MobiFone and budget airline VietJet Air, after the partial sale of Vietnam Airlines in November drew little interest.

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