SOEs rush to find strategic shareholders to carry out equitization

State owned enterprises (SOEs) decide that they need to find suitable strategic shareholders before going equitized.

President of Vietnam Airlines Corporation Pham Viet Thanh also said the national air flag carrier is looking for the strategic shareholders who can help it both open more international air routes and heighten its strength.

President of Vietnam Airlines Corporation Pham Viet Thanh also said the national air flag carrier is looking for the strategic shareholders who can help it both open more international air routes and heighten its strength.

Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said at a national conference reviewing the SOE equitization some days ago that enterprises would only get equitized successfully if they can find suitable strategic shareholders.

“This is a lesson we have learned from the equitization of the 44 SOEs belonging to the Ministry of Transport carried out over the last three years,” Thang said.

The number accounted for a half of the total number of SOEs going equitized in that period.

Thang went on to say that nine of the 11 general corporations under the ministry to go equtiized in the next two years have found their strategic partners, while some of them have had more than single partners.

President of Vietnam Airlines Corporation Pham Viet Thanh also said the national air flag carrier is looking for the strategic shareholders who can help it both open more international air routes and heighten its strength.

President of SBIC, the shipbuilder, once told the local press that SBIC was working with a lot of foreign partners including Damen or Samsung.

Le Van Dao, General Director of the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the powerful company specializing in making finance investments in businesses with the state’s money, also believes that suitable strategic shareholders can help improve enterprises’ operation and competitiveness.

Dao said that the government allows SCIC to sell big lots of businesses’ shares if it can find good strategic partners. In some cases, SCIC sold up to 30 percent of stakes of businesses to the partners.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who chaired the national conference on SOE equtization, after hearing that, suggested that this should be the valuable lesson for other SOEs which are carrying out the equitization.

However, while SOEs believe that strategic partners play a very important role in the equitization process and the enterprises’ operation after the equitation, some experts keep doubts about that.

Nguyen Tran Bat, a well-known consultant, said he does not agree with the viewpoint that SOEs need to find strategic shareholders before going equtized.

“One cannot rely on strategic shareholders. How can enterprises have strategic shareholders, once non-strategic shareholders have not turned up yet?” he questioned.

According to Bat, strategic shareholders would only appear after non-strategic shareholders are found.

He explained that by the nature, equtizing enterprises means selling enterprises to those investors who are capable to buy them. Meanwhile, strategic shareholders are understood as the capable investors who can buy stakes in large quantities.

“Non-strategic shareholders create the markets, while strategic shareholders define the market tendencies,” he said.

“How can the market tendencies be created once the markets had not been created?” he questioned.

Bat went on to say that a lot of investors are awaiting to buy stakes of the enterprises to go equitized. However, there are also the “vultures” as well. And the problem is that there are no criteria which can help define who are the suitable strategic shareholders, and who are the vultures.

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