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Vinalines issues proposal on Vietnam’s port sell-off

Vietnam’s state-owned shipping line Vinalines has made a proposal to the government on what percentage of the nation’s ports should be sold off.

Vinalines has asked the government to sell off all or part of ports which are not operating effectively or are not of vital importance to the sector.

However, the corporation wants to retain a 65% stake in Haiphong port, rather than the 51% previously directed by government. Last year, Hai Phong made VND443bn (US$20.4m) in profit, a 15% increase from the previous year.

According to Deal Street Asia, property developer Vingroup wants to acquire 80% of the shares the government will sell. Alternatively, the Vietnam Oman Investments (VOI fund), a joint venture between Oman’s State General Reserve Fund and the Vietnam State Capital Investment Corporation, will buy all the government’s offering of shares.

Both the government and the shipping line are happy to retain a 51% stake in Da Nang, Can Tho and Dinh Vu. The proposal named several ports where a less than 50% stake would be acceptable: Nghe Tinh, Cam Ranh, Sai Gon, Cai Mep and SSIT.

In May 2014, less than half of the available shares in Haiphong and Da Nang were sold.

After this, Vinalines general director Le Anh Son blamed the hesitance to buy shares on the fact that the government was only willing to sell 25% stakes in each port. Since then, the company has been campaigning for the government to sell off larger stakes.

In the past, Vietnamese container terminals have struggled to make profit due to overcapacity but volume growth has been strong in 2014.