Despite some rumours that foreign investment funds had faced difficulties in divestment, a new survey conducted by Grant Thornton Vietnam found that 150 full and partial exits were achieved during the 2003-10.

Some successful exits included those of Dragon Capital, which successfully sold its stakes in VP Bank and Vinamilk, and VinaCapital, which divested from Masan Group and the Hilton Hanoi.

The value of full and partial exits fell to 150 million USD last year, Grant Thornton reported, after peaking during the financial crisis at 230 million USD in 2008 and 242 million USD in 2009.

Stock exchanges continued to be the predominant method used by fund managers to divest, accounting for 60 percent of all exits.

The average holding period for each exited investment was about three years, the survey found, although the trend had been for longer-term investments.

"The average holding period has been trending upwards over the survey period, with exits in 2010 taking, on average, between four and five years" said Grant Thornton Vietnam managing partner Ken Atkinson. "Based upon the large number of investments made in 2007, the next two years should result in a growing number of investment exits."

Over 1.8 billion USD worth of private equity investment has been made in almost 200 Vietnamese companies since 2003. The number and value of those invesments fell sharply beginning with the global financial crisis in 2008, dropping from 752 million USD in 2007 to just 71 million USD last year./.