Some FDI firms want to list on the Vietnamese stock market.



Experts have urged competent authorities to rapidly make a clear legal mechanism to convert foreign-owned firms into public companies, enabling them to list on the Vietnamese stock exchange.

Some FDI firms have said that they want to list on the local stock market, but there has been so far no specific guidance for the activity. The regulatory delay hurts the firms’ chances of raising capital in the country, while also negatively affecting the budding image of Vietnam’s market as an open and welcoming destination for foreign investors.

It was believed if the government changes the legal framework to allow FDI firms to list their shares, many foreign investors will join the local stock market.

Experts believed that it is good news for Vietnam as foreign investors have been choosing Vietnam not only to set up production bases, but also to list their shares. It will help Vietnam promote itself as both the listing and investing destinations for foreign companies.

According to Layer Tran Minh Hai, director of law firm Basico, it will be a good signal if the government allows FDI enterprises to be converted into public companies and listing shares on the stock market.

The move will show that FDI firms operating in Vietnam are treated equally as domestic ones and the country eases them to bring capital into and out of the local market, Hai said.

Vietnam is striving to improve its stock market’s status and implementing measures to attract portfolio investment, and allowing FDI firms to list would help the country achieve this goal.

The country’s stock exchange too will become more attractive to investors if foreign companies can list on them, growing in size and offering more products.

It would create a virtuous cycle by attracting more direct and portfolio investment flows from abroad, experts said.

Better supervision

According to Hai, paving the way for FDI firms to list their shares on the local stock market also helps strengthen supervision over the firms. State management agencies will then find it easier to monitor activities related to acquisitions by foreign companies, generally improving transparency overall.

Besides, Hai said, at that time, listed foreign firms will be overseen more closely. In addition to authorities, investors and shareholders will also keep a close watch on them.

However, as some FDI firms only list their stocks to divest from Vietnam more easily if they need to, experts suggested the State Securities Commission (SSC) issue some more detailed rules on whether the founders of FDI firms can divest from their companies, as this is related to the matter of capital outflow from Vietnam.

It is also necessary to have clear legal regulations and ensure foreign firms are properly audited before they are allowed to list to reduce the risk for both the investing public and the market.

Tran Huu Huynh, Chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC), said that in order to pave the way for FDI enterprises to go to the Vietnamese stock exchanges, competent authorities need to carefully review international commitments that Vietnam must enforce to ensure the foreign ownership limits.

It is important to have close and feasible monitoring regulations for listed FDI firms, especially those related to transparency of financial statements and annual reports, Huynh suggested.

According to SSC, it is working with relevant ministries and agencies to finalize specific legal regulations on guiding FDI firms in listing on the Vietnamese stock market before submitting it to the Ministry of Finance and the government for approval. Hanoitimes

Linh Pham