VietNamNet Bridge – The recent initial public offerings (IPOs) of Vinalines all failed, with a modest ratios of shares sold on shares offered.




In May 2014, Hai Phong Port sold 17,669,000 shares out of the 37,635,600 shares it offered at the IPO, which means more than a half of shares were unsalable.

However, Hai Phong Port shares still sold better than other ports. Quang Ninh, for example, put 11.3 million shares in late May 2014, but only 854,500 shares, or 7.5 percent, were sold.

The IPO of Nha Trang Port was even worse with only 350,800 shares, or 6.3 percent of offered shares, sold. And only 1.6 million out of 8.3 million of Da Nang Port’s shares were sold at the IPO in June.

In the latest news, only 0.8 percent of Chan May Port’s shares were sold at the IPO held in mid-December 2014.

A report of Vinalines, the Vietnam National Shipping Lines Corporation, the holding company of the port development companies, said the IPOs made in the first three quarters of 2014 were “below expectations” with less than 5 percent of offered shares sold. The amount of shares Vinalines hoped to sell was five times higher.

Vinalines’ general director Le Anh Son said the seaports’ shares cannit be sold because of the low percentages of shares offered and the high percentages of shares the State will hold after the ports’ equitization (up to 75 percent).

“Investors registered to buy 90 percent of Da Nang port, 100 percent of Quang Ninh, and 49 percent of Hai Phong,” Son said.

Dau Tu newspaper quoted Sigmund Stromme, chair of NorCham, the body representing North European businesses in Vietnam, who suggested that Vietnam should allow foreign investors to hold 70-100 percent of shares of the ports to attract investors.

Meanwhile, Thoi bao Kinh Doanh quoted its sources as saying that a “subterranean battle” is taking place between investors and the owners of some seaports located in advantageous positions.

The sources said that the investors are trying to put pressure on the government and the Ministry of Transport to lower the state’s ownership ratio at the ports to below 50 percent. However, their attempts have not brought the desired effect yet.

According to the newspaper, the battle is due to benefits, rather than investors’ indifference.

In the latest news, the government has agreed to sell a part of Vinalines’ shares at the Hai Phong Port JSC to VOI, an Oman investor.

In Document No 10582, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh agreed to sell. A minimum of 19.68 percent of shares and a maximum of 29.58 percent to the investor.