Vietnam to sell 9 pct stake in dairy giant this year: state investment arm

By Thanh Thanh Lan   September 23, 2016 | 03:00 pm PT
Already valued at $9 billion, Vinamilk is the largest listed firm in the country.

The Vietnamese government will divest a 9 percent stake in dairy company Vinamilk later this year, kicking off the process of offloading its most lucrative assets, Nguyen Duc Chi, chairman of the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), told reporters on Friday.

The SCIC, the government's investment arm, currently holds a 44.7 percent stake in Vinamilk, according to Reuters.

“The sale is open to anyone who has the financial capacity, including local and foreign private investors,” Chi said.

The starting price for this first sell-off will be announced in November, he added.

Credit Suisse, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Chase, Viet Capital Securities and Saigon Securities Inc. are among the candidates for providing consultancy services for the sale, and a decision on that is expected to be made later this month, Chi said.

F&N Dairy Investments, backed by Thai beer billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, already owns 10.9 percent of Vinamilk, and the tycoon is keen to bolster his stake in the company, Reuters quoted its sources as saying.

Vinamilk is the country's biggest listed firm with a market value of nearly $9 billion. It has grown 21 times in value since it listed a decade ago and its shares have gained 28 percent this year in anticipation of more shares being available once SCIC starts to divest. The company scrapped its 49 percent foreign ownership cap in July, Reuters said this week.

Vietnam's government has acknowledged its SOE sell-off has been problematic, but officials argue the process has been bogged down by crossover regulations that are taking time to unravel.

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