Vietnam’s leading property developer Vingroup seems to know no limits to its talents as evidenced by the proposal it sent to the Ministry of Transport, seeking to buy into the country’s seaport operations.
Vingroup is keen to become a strategic partner in the Saigon Port Company Ltd, and Haiphong Port JSC currently owned by state-run Vinalines.
The developer has proposed buying a stake of up to 80 per cent in Haiphong Port at a price not lower than the average auction price.
Vingroup has also proposed to buy an 80 per cent stake at a price not lower than the initial public offering (IPO) in Saigon Port, and has demanded the right to partake in the company’s equitisation plan.
Haiphong Port JSC was equitised in 2014, with VND3.26 trillion ($152 million) in chartered capital, and Vinalines holding a 94.6 per cent stake.
Last year, the port reported total throughput cargo volumes of 19.7 million tonnes, earning VND1.57 trillion ($73.6 million) in revenue and VND397 billion ($18.5 million) in profits.
Meanwhile, Saigon Port’s enterprise value was set at VND3.99 trillion ($186 million) at the start of 2014. Of this, state equity was VND2.16 trillion ($101 million). Saigon Port will be equitised in the first quarter of this year. However, the state still want to retain a 75 per cent stake.
In its document to the MoT, Vingroup CEO Duong Thi Mai Hoa claimed that the group would apply the latest management models in the operation and management of these two major ports to bolster business efficiency.
Apart from being trusted with the development of Nha Trang Port in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, a subsidiary under Vingroup has also applied to build a passenger dock on Phu Quoc Island in the southern coastal province of Kien Giang.
Vingroup was also rumoured to be the single investor hoping to buy Phu Quoc International Airport.
To win a stake in Haiphong Port, Vingroup would need to compete head-on with the Vietnam-Oman Investment JSC (VOI) belonging to Oman’s sovereign wealth fund SGRF. The Middle East investor had sent a proposal to the Vietnamese government asking to acquire 29.68 per cent stake in Haiphong Port under a negotiated price scheme.
In the case of Saigon Port, if Vingroup was chosen to become the port’s strategic partner, parent company Vinalines would need to revise its resolution on selecting strategic partners as the Vinalines’ Member Council, which earlier regulated that Saigon Port’s strategic partners must operate in fields other than Vingroup’s core lines.