The first quarter of the year witnessed an unprecedented surge in initial public offerings by state-owned businesses, the Saigon Times Daily reported on April 8.

According to Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), which arranges share auctions for state-owned firms, this stock exchange held 21 share auctions accounting for 84% of all auctions conducted in 2013.

Nineteen of these auctions were initial public offerings and the remainder additional share issues.

Investors’ interest in those share auctions varied depending on enterprises. There were auctions in which large numbers of investors competed for shares, such as those by Civil Engineering Construction Corporation 4 (Cienco 4) with 668 investors, Viglacera with 608 investors and Hanoi Construction Corporation with 203 investors.

However, in the auctions that attracted little investors' interest, the issuing firms sold around one-third of their offered shares.

More than half the issuing enterprises are big corporations and 12 belong to the Ministry of Transport, which earlier issued a strong warning against those hesitating to let their businesses go public.

Nine auctions at HNX by the end of the first quarter saw all the offered shares snapped up by investors, including two to sell additional shares of Ta Cu Tourism Joint Stock Company and Hai Duong Porcelain Joint Stock Company.

The shares sold in the IPOs of those state firms in the first three months totaled 90.27 million worth around 1.16 trillion VND. The extra shares issued by the current joint stock enterprises numbered 2.9 million valued at 71.8 billion VN.-VNA