The number of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) set to be equitised during the 2014-15 period will increase from 432 to 532 companies.

The increase was the result of the latest review of the government's restructuring plan for the SOEs. This was announced at a meeting conducted by the Steering Committee for Innovation and Development of State-owned Enterprises last weekend to evaluate the restructuring progress of the SOEs in 2014.

A total of 143 SOEs had been equitised as of December 25, 2014, doubling the 2013 figure. Meanwhile, 167 enterprises had been re-arranged, indicating an increase of 160 percent compared with that of last year.

According to the 2014-15 SOEs restructuring plan, 479 businesses will be arranged, 432 will be equitised, 22 will be dissolved, and 25 will be merged.

The State Securities Commission reported that 76 SOEs in 2014 sold stakes on the stock exchanges. From these enterprises, 64 collected a total amount of 5.115 trillion VND (239 million USD), or 66 percent of the plan. The surplus revenue earned from these share sales reached 1.324 trillion VND (nearly 62 million USD).

Government Office Vice Chairman Pham Viet Muon appraised the restructuring efforts made by the ministries and enterprises despite the difficulties faced in the domestic and the world economic environments.

However, Muon disclosed that some ministries, including the Ministries of Defence, Health, and Industry and Trade, were still slow in carrying out the restructuring plan. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation, as well as 33 cities and provinces, also exhibited slow implementation.

In addition, a number of policies have not been issued and amended timely. The delay contributed to the slow restructuring progress.

Muon encouraged all ministries, sectors and localities to exert greater efforts to achieve the goal of equitising 532 state enterprises by the end of this year. In addition, the Steering Committee should continue to improve the legal framework of the arrangement and innovation of the state enterprises.

The Steering Committee also set the timetable to equitise the enterprises which showed slow progress. This move was made to ensure that all enterprises will have equitisation plans approved no later than the fourth quarter of this year.

Subsequently, the businesses eligible to make initial public offerings (IPO) must proceed according to the regulations set. Businesses that are ineligible for IPOs must shift into a joint stock company with multiple shareholders including the State, the State Capital Investment Corporation, labour union, or employees to diversify the owners and make corporate governance more transparent. Other shareholders should be considered as well.

The State corporations and localities will continue to review and update the list of companies targeted to be equitised. The list will be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval in the first quarter of 2015.

With regard to the divestment of the state's capital as of December 25, 2014, the state's enterprises have sold shares worth 6.076 trillion VND (284 million USD) in 233 companies, collecting more than 8 trillion VND (374 million USD). This amount is 1.3 times higher than the book value.

Sectors that divestments brought profits from included finance and banking, real estate and insurance.-VNA