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Vietnam says no specific buyer in mind for Vinamilk Dec stake sale

Vietnam says no specific buyer in mind for Vinamilk Dec stake sale
An employee loads Vinamilk's products into a fridge at a shop in Hanoi, Vietnam November 21, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Vietnam's State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) said on Monday that it did not have a specific buyer in mind for its 9 percent stake in Vinamilk and that the shares would go to the highest bidders at the sale next month.

SCIC, which represents the state and owns 44.7 percent of Vinamilk, has not decided the time for selling its remaining stake in the state-controlled dairy firm, SCIC Chairman Nguyen Duc Chi told a conference to introduce the sale set for Dec. 2.

The bidding price will have to be no less than a starting price set by the SCIC, to be announced this week, and the floor price of the shares on Dec. 2, Chi said. Shares of the country's biggest listed firm are currently at 138,500 dong ($6.16).

"We (SCIC) and Vinamilk have decided that we will not pick a strategic investor for this divestment of SCIC and we will publicly announce and create a fair chance for all interested investors," SCIC chairman Nguyen Duc Chi told investors.

The details on the stake sale, worth around $800 million at current market value, will be welcomed by investors frustrated with Vietnam's stuttering partial-privatisation drive. Hanoi has been striving to trim stakes in state-owned enterprises, but progress has been slow given small stakes on offer, sizable state control and concerns about vested interests.


Vietnam says no specific buyer in mind for Vinamilk Dec stake sale

Dairy products of Vinamilk are displayed for sale at a shop in Hanoi, Vietnam November 21, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham


Vietnam Dairy Products JSC, as Vinamilk is formally known, scrapped its 49-percent foreign-ownership cap in July in preparation for the stake sale this year by SCIC.

According to local media reports, F&N Dairy Investment, backed by Thai beer billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and No.2 stakeholder in Vinamilk owning 10.95 percent, has been keen to increase its share in the company.

But Chi said that SCIC had not received any proposal from F&N to buy more stakes in the firm.

Morgan Stanley Asia, Vietnam's Saigon Securities Inc and VinaCapital Corporate Finance Vietnam are the advisers for the 9 percent stake sale.