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Vietnam Airlines to pick foreign strategic partner this month: media

Tuesday, December 15, 2015, 14:19 GMT+7
Vietnam Airlines to pick foreign strategic partner this month: media
A file photo shows the first Airbus A350-900 XWB of Vietnam Airlines thoroughly painted at a plant in Toulouse, France, in March 2015.

Vietnam Airlines will complete all necessary procedures for the selection of a strategic foreign partner by the end of this month, so that the two parties can officially reach a deal early next year, a senior official of the national carrier said at a conference last week.

The privatization of Vietnam Airlines, beginning in September last year, has been kept on track with the selection of strategic investors expected to come to an end soon, local media quoted Pham Ngoc Minh, general director of the carrier, as saying in Hanoi on December 9.

One potential strategic partner sent an offer to Vietnam Airlines in August, nearly one year after the airline began searching for foreign investors to join its privatization drive, news website VnExpress quoted Minh as saying.

The two sides are continuing to negotiate and are expected to agree on terms at the end of this month before drafting a contract for transferring shares, Minh said.

The draft document will be submitted to the Ministry of Transport and the prime minister in early 2016 so that the two parties can complete the signature of the deal in the first quarter of next year, he added.

However, Minh refused to reveal the name of the strategic investor at the conference.

Earlier, during a meeting with leaders of the Ministry of Transport in late September, Pham Viet Thanh, chairman of the board of directors of Vietnam Airlines, said it was a partner from Japan.

At the carrier’s first-ever shareholder meeting in March this year, Vietnam Airlines announced that it would issue more than 282 million individual shares, equivalent to 20 percent of its charter capital, to no more than three strategic investors, including foreign airlines or financial investors.

The selling prices would be determined on the basis of commitments in supporting Vietnam Airlines, but will not be lower than VND22,300 (about US$1) per share, the rate set for the carrier’s initial public offering in November 2014.

At that price, Vietnam Airlines plans to collect nearly VND6.3 trillion ($277.2 million) to expand its fleet.

Concerning divestment from non-core business, general director Minh said Vietnam Airlines has earned VND734 billion ($32.29 million) in 2012-15, reaching 91 percent of the projected total, and anticipates earnings of VND374 billion($15.26 million) in profit.

The carrier will complete its divestment from three non-core businesses this month.

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