Vietnam will have just 692 State-owned enterprises in four years' time, down from more than 2,000 now, since steps are being taken to speed up their equitisation, a senior official has said.

Pham Viet Muon, deputy head of the Committee for SOEs Renewal and Development, said the Government will restructure as many as 1,309 State-owned enterprises (SOEs) by 2015, many of them major corporations or economic groups.

Of them 27 are large enough to directly impact the economy, including the Vietnam Shipping Industry Group, Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group, Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, Vietnam National Shipping Lines, and Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group, he said.

The Government will however retain controlling stakes of 65-75 percent, he said.

In the last two years the equitisation process has slowed down significantly due to many difficulties including the stock market downturn, creating a big challenge for the economy, he said.

Other problems included equitisation mechanisms and policies, he said.

Most of the current policies are outdated, he said, while the biggest obstacles relates to defining valuation of enterprises, including value created by geographical advantages.

Evaluating the assets of large SOEs that have a lot of land and other properties is also a difficult task, he added.

To speed up the equitisation process, the Government issued Decree No 59 last July providing guidelines for the conversion of SOEs into shareholding companies.

The decree eliminates many of the legal obstacles to determining the enterprise value of SOEs before equitisation and to offering incentives to attract strategic investors.

The Ministry of Finance is collecting public opinions to draft guidelines for implementing the decree that will speed up the equitisation process while still ensuring quality products for the stock market./.