The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines sold more than 49 million shares worth 1,093 billion VND (52.05 million USD) at its initial public offering (IPO) at the HCM City Stock Exchange on November 14.

A total of 1,577 investors bought the shares of the national carrier at an average price of 22,307 VND (1.06 USD) each.

The Vietnam Technology and Commerce Bank (Techcombank) reportedly spent 574 billion VND (27.33 million USD) to buy 25,760,000 or 52.18 percent of the shares offered at 22,300 VND each. With this sale, Techcombank has become one of the airline’ biggest investors.

At the auction, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong said the equitisation of a State-owned corporation as big as Vietnam Airlines served as evidence of the Government's sound policy in restructuring and equitising State-owned enterprises to increase their transparency and make their production and business operations more effective.

The successful equitisation of Vietnam Airlines and other State-owned enterprises will contribute towards active and positive change for the stock market as well as the country's economy, added Truong.

Pham Viet Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Airline Council of Members, announced that the first shareholders' meeting is scheduled for March 12, 2015.

Vietnam Airlines has a chartered capital of 14.1 trillion VND (671.4 million USD), equivalent to the number of its shares. The State owns 75 percent of the shares while strategic investors own 20 percent, company staff and workers 1.5 percent, and other investors 3.5 percent.

The Government has ordered the Ministry of Transport to decide on the reduction of State ownership in Vietnam Airlines to less than 65 percent at an appropriate time. Meanwhile, the company is selecting its strategic investors.

In a plan to be carried out five years after equitisation, Vietnam Airlines aims to keep its position as national carrier, play a key role in domestic air transport and become a member of the leading airline group in Southeast Asia in both scale and service quality.

The Government has approved the carrier's valuation at 57.156 trillion VND (2.72 billion USD) based on its book value. Of this amount, State capital makes up 10.567 trillion VND (507.79 million USD).-VNA