Dutch firm eyes 70 percent stake in shipbuilder

The Netherlands’ Damen Shipyards Group is expected to buy at least 70 percent of the stake of Song Cam Shipbuilding Joint Stock Company, reported VnExpress online.

Song Cam is headquartered in the northern city of Hai Phong. The company is an affiliate of the Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC), which was established following a Transport Ministry decision in October 2013. The decision was based on the restructuring of the insolvent Vietnam Shipbuilding Corporation.

SBIC sources revealed that the corporation plans to select Damen as a strategic partner as part of its equitisation and development schemes, which it adopted this year.

Vietnam’s current regulations impose a 49 percent limit on foreign investors who intend to share ownership in the domestic stock market. As such, Song Cam and the Dutch firm would have to apply this cap if the share acquisition is carried out.

However, the corporation has petitioned Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and the Transport Ministry for an exception to push through with the 70 percent deal.

An unnamed leader of the SBIC told VnExpress that the corporation is still waiting for a response from the government office regarding the petition. In addition, the source disclosed that a specific value for the deal could not be revealed yet as “negotiations are (still) underway.”

“If the proposal is adopted, we expect to conclude negotiations on the value of the deal by mid-January 2015,” the official said. The official also added that a successful stake transfer would not only serve the restructuring process but would also help SBIC enhance capacities related to management, technology and market development.

Damen and Song Cam jointly established the 60-million EUR Damen Song Cam shipbuilding factory in Hai Phong last March, with 70 percent of the amount coming from the Netherlands.

Damen has also offered to buy the majority of the stakes at another SBIC member, Ha Long Shipbuilding Company, when this firm launches an initial public offering. The event is expected to be held early next year, according to the news website.

The Dutch company began its cooperation with Vietnam Shipbuilding Corporation, or Vinashin, more than 10 years ago

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