Vietnam Air Seeks Foreign Investors Amid Stake Sale Plans

Vietnam Airlines Corp., the national carrier, plans to sell as much as a 15 percent stake to foreign investors as the government seeks to ramp up the overhaul of state-owned companies and spur economic growth.

The government plans to sell a 10 percent to 15 percent stake of the airline to foreign strategic investors, most likely after an initial public offering in September, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Hong Truong said in an interview in Hanoi today. The carrier is valued at 57 trillion dong ($2.7 billion) by Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup Inc. (C), according to Truong.

The national carrier is among more than 400 state-run companies the Vietnamese government seeks to sell stakes in by the end of next year to boost the country’s productivity as it restructures the economy. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is considering raising foreign ownership caps at listed companies.

“Vietnam lacks money,” said Truong. “Vietnam lacks advanced technologies and markets so bringing in foreign strategic investors will help our state companies to grow.”

The airline is currently in talks with potential foreign investors that include international air carriers and financial companies from Singapore, Thailand and Europe, he said, without elaborating.

The government has given its approval for Vietnam Airlines to sell a total 25 percent stake, which includes both sales to strategic investors and shares offered at the IPO, Truong said. Dung still needs to sign-off on a detailed plan for the sales with a final shortlist of foreign investors, expected in June, Truong said.

Truong said he’s confident the airline will be able to sell the full stake.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi at uyen1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net Suresh Seshadri, K. Oanh Ha

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