Illustrative image (Source: dantri.com)
MobiFone Corporation, the second largest mobile operator in Vietnam, is poised to sell its stakes in two banks as part of its ongoing equitisation plans.

Le Nam Tra, the company's chairman, said MobiFone has hired a securities firm to auction off its shares in Tien Phong Bank and wrapping up procedures for selling its stake in South-east Asia Bank.

It has sold off its stakes in multi-media company SmartMedia and communications firm Neo, he said.

A wholly State-owned corporation belonging to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), it has tied up with partners to prepare for an initial public offering this year.

Pham Dinh Trong, Director of MIC's Business Management Department, said MobiFone should complete its asset valuation for the IPO in the forth quarter.

According to MIC's online newspaper ictnews.vn, Nirukt Sapru, CEO of Standard Chartered Limited Bank, said some of his bank's clients looking to invest in the company are concerned about the big stake the Government still holds in it.

The Government must draw up and disclose clear policies about it before the IPO, he said.

Earlier this year, Standard Chartered Bank reported that 93 percent of the mobile market was held by Viettel, MobiFone, and VinaPhone and ranked MobiFone second in terms of market share.

Twenty percent of the population still do not use mobile services and revenue from data services remains low though it double in the next five years, the report said.

Sapru said it is highly likely MobiFone would have one strategic investor.

UK company Hogan Lovells International LLP said last month Norway's Telenor ASA, Sweden's Comviq and Malaysia's Axiata Group Berhad have all expressed interest in Mobifone's upcoming IPO.

Last year HCM City Securities Company valued MobiFone at 3.4 billion USD, and has said that with its current growth rate the value could top 4 billion USD after the IPO.

MobiFone has a charter capital of 15 trillion VND (681 million USD). Last year it reported pre-tax profit of 7.3 trillion VND (324.4 million USD) on revenues of 36.1 trillion VND (1.6 billion USD).

It targets annual growth rate of 20 percent through 2020.-VNA