Vinalines buys back illegally sold stake in central port

By Doan Loan   May 31, 2019 | 10:54 am GMT+7
Vinalines buys back illegally sold stake in central port
A cargo ship of Vinalines, Vietnam’s largest shipping firm and port operator, is anchored at a port in HCMC. Photo by Reuters/Stringer
State-owned shipping firm Vinalines has bought back its stake in a central port after illegally selling it to a private firm.

Vinalines has paid VND415 billion ($17.7 million) to acquire a 75 stake in Quy Nhon Port and will take over the port starting next month, its communication head Tran Tuan Hai said Thursday.

The biggest Vietnamese shipping firm has appointed a representative to the Quy Nhon Port’s management board.

Following a 2013 equitization of the port, Vinalines had a 75 percent stake in it. But the shipping giant later sold its stake to private minerals company Hop Thanh, which had no prior experience in operating a port.

The Government Inspectorate last year found that Vinalines, under the Ministry of Transport, had illegally sold its stake to Hop Thanh without the government’s approval. The inspectors demanded that Vinalines buy back its stake.

Quy Nhon Port is a major port in the central coast with almost 21,000 warehouses and a 48,000 square meter area for containers. In 2017, 7.1 million tons of goods passed through the port.

Vinalines, formally Vietnam National Shipping Lines, made its initial public offering (IPO) on the Hanoi Stock Exchange last year, but only sold one percent of the shares offered.

It earned revenues of VND14 billion ($597 million) last year, 2.6 percent higher than the annual target.

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