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Vinalines plans to take daring steps to get off the hook

The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT) hope the plan to reduce the state’s ownership ratio in the big shipping firm to 36 percent will help restructure the business.

A plan to equitize Vinalines, described as “very daring”, has been submitted, under which the State will hold 36 percent of chartered capital only after selling seaports and equitizing subsidiaries.


Thirty six percent of chartered capital is the lowest ever suggested state ownership ratio in a large corporation like Vinalines.


Earlier, under Decision No 37 released last year, the State was slated to hold 75 percent of Vinalines’ chartered capital, at least after equitization.


Analysts said that MOT offers high ownership ratios to non-state shareholders because it hopes they will help attract more buyers.


Holding only 36 percent of chartered capital and opening the doors to foreign investors to ownership of the largest Vietnamese shipping firm is unheard of in the country, they said.


Of Vinalines’ chartered capital of VND9.3 trillion, the State would hold 334.8 million shares (VND10,000 per share in face value), while 279 million shares would be sold to strategic shareholders.


The watchdog agency mha have realized that investors would not be interested in Vinalines’ shares if the State intended to hold a big proportion of shares after equitization.


The analysts believe that with the high ownership ratio of strategic investors, expected at 30 percent, plus the high ownership ratio of other investors, estimated at 34 percent, private investors would have more power in the management of the shipping firm after it launches an IPO (initial public offering).


The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has voiced support of the equitization plan drawn up by Vinalines and MOT. Other ministries have not stated their opinions yet.


The biggest question is whether to allow Vinalines’ creditors to convert their loans into capital contributing to Vinalines.


MOT has suggested allowing creditors to convert loans to contributed capital in Vinalines holding company and subsidiaries under the mode of direct swaps, i.e., the creditors will not have to follow the most common necessary procedures.


MOF’s Deputy Minister Tran Van Hieu noted that converting loans into shares, a solution to restructure Vinalines’ debts, is the desire of both Vinalines and creditors.


If the existing conditions can satisfy the requirements on ensuring the safety of credit institutions’ operations, the required 10 percent deposit could be skipped.


Despite big losses and debts, Vinalines remains the largest shipping firm in Vietnam. It owns 109 vessels with total tonnage of 2.5 million DWT, or 31 percent of the total capacity of the Vietnamese fleet.

Source: NCDT