Vietnam wants to raise IPO threshold to keep out small firms

By Anh Minh   June 7, 2019 | 12:38 am PT
Vietnam wants to raise IPO threshold to keep out small firms
Vietnam wants to tighten IPO regulations to reduce risks for investors. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The government wants to triple the minimum capital a company should have for making an initial public offering to reduce risks for investors.

In a bill on securities, the government has proposed increasing the minimum charter capital to VND30 billion ($1.28 million).

Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung said the bill seeks to prevent businesses from issuing shares worth many times owners’ equity.

The average capital of Vietnamese businesses has surged 16.35 times in the last 10 years, and a company with a capital of only VND10 billion ($428,700) would in any case have difficulty operating, he said.

"The low charter capital requirement has led to many companies going public, but after a short time asking to have the 'public' status removed."

Most delegates an the National Assembly’s Economic Committee endorsed the bill, saying it would improve the quality and stability of stocks in the market and reduce the risk for investors.

Since a majority of companies have VND30 trillion or more in capital, the bill would only affect 18 percent of listed businesses, a government report said.

But the chairman of the committee, Vu Hong Thanh, said there are objections to the bill that it would prevent small and medium-sized enterprises from mobilizing funds on the stock market.

The government needs to further assess the socio-economic impacts of the bill, he added.

Lawmakers will discuss the bill again next Thursday.

Vietnam last year unseated Singapore as the largest IPO market in Southeast Asia, with five issuances raising $2.6 billion, according to consultancy EY.

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