SOE equitization faces difficulties in attracting strategic investors

Domestic and foreign investors have been uninterested in equitization of state own enterprises (SOEs) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade because the ratio of state capital is still high at many businesses, said Mr. Phan Dang Tuat, deputy head of the Committee for Business Innovation and Development on December 24.

At a conference hosted by the ministry to review SOE restructuring and equitization in the phase of 2011-2015 and plan for the next five years, Mr.Tuat cited an instance at the Vietnam National Coal - Mineral Industries Group.

Three corporations under this group had failed to lure strategic investors in their initial public offerings (IPOs) because state capital still accounts for 98-99 percent, he said.

Many investors told him that they were willing to buy over 51 percent of shares of equitized businesses. If it was only 20 percent, they would not buy because they did not know how to do with that investment amount, Mr. Tuat said.

Another reason for the difficulty in attracting strategic investors is that foreign investors do need clear financial reports, a requirement that many Vietnamese enterprises fail to meet, he added.

According to Mr. Tuat, the Prime Minister’s Decision 37 should be adjusted to reduce the state capital rate to attract strategic investors during equitization.

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang admitted that equitization is inconsiderable if state capital still accounts for 94-95 percent.

Although the Government has made drastic instructions in equitization and state capital withdrawal but they have not obtained results as expected, Mr. Hoang said.

In the context that the stock market has not recovered and businesses under the equitization program have met with difficulties, if there is no determination from his ministry and assistances from other ministries, it will be hard to implement plans on schedule, he said.

While waiting for the Government and ministries to clear difficulties, businesses need to continue implementing their equitization and capital withdrawal projects.

The ministry is working on the plan to host a seminar to promote investment in equitized companies.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has equitized 287 out of 299 businesses as of December this year. In the phase of 2011-2015, it has done restructuring and equitization of 15 companies.

The ministry is expected to equalize seven others including three corporations and four one member limited from now until the first quarter next year.

By Ha My – Translated by Hai Mien

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