VNPT faces difficulty in implementing divestiture plan

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Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group VNPT says it may take about five years to work out the details of its state-mandated divestment of non-core assets due to the recent market slump.

In July 2011, VNPT planned to withdraw its capital from certain investments and asked Hanoi-based FPT Securities JSC to serve as its consultant. So far, however, the corporation has not proceeded with the plan, Dau Tu newspaper reported on August 22.

"It may take at least five years for VNPT to withdraw its capital investments", VNPT deputy general director Phan Hoang Duc said, adding that the process has coincided with a particularly low point in the nation's stock market.

At the moment, VNPT holds investments in 85 companies, most of which reported either meager profits or losses in the past year, according to Dau Tu.

For example, VNPT owns a 31.02 percent stake in Sacom Investment and Development JSC, which reported a VND178 billion (US$8.6 million) loss in 2011.

That same year, SPT Saigon Postel Corp., of which VNPT has 8.53 percent of stake, reported VND186 billion ($8.9 million) in losses.

Meanwhile, TST Technical Services Telecom JSC found itself in the same situation, reporting losses totalling VND9 billion ($432,000) for the entire year. VNPT's stake in the company is 32.81 percent.

Dinh Thi Quynh Van, the general director of the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Vietnam PwC, said it is always difficult for corporations to divest, especially amid the current economic slowdown.

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