State-owned fuel giant PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (PV Gas) will sell additional 20 percent of stakes held by the State after its gas pricing mechanism is approved, said the corporation's General Director Do Khang Ninh.

Ninh said the plan was endorsed by the Prime Minister at the corporation's meeting to review its business in 2013.

"If the State sold 20 percent stake in PV Gas and used this money to invest in other projects, its gains would be much larger than preserving the current holding and awaiting dividends," Ninh was quoted as saying by Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.

The State holding in PV Gas is roughly 97 percent. According to the equitisation plan of PV Gas approved by the Prime Minister, this rate can be reduced to 75 percent.

State holdings in similar gas corporations in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia were also around 50-60 percent, Ninh said.

With regard to concerns over lowering the Government's power in distributing profits, Ninh said Decree 71/2013/ND-CP regulated 70 percent of profits PetroVietnam receives from PV Gas's dividends will go to the State budget.

He stressed that equitisation of State-owned enterprises was essential at present in the context of a limited State budget. It was a good way to raise capital, boost transparency and absorb new technology and experience from strategic shareholders.

"After equitisation, the value of PV Gas has increased from 700 million USD to nearly 10 billion USD and total assets tripled in 2008, reaching nearly 3 billion USD," Ninh said.

In May, reputable US magazine Forbes listed PV Gas and Vietinbank among 2,000 of the most large and powerful enterprises in the world in 2014. The ranking is based on a criteria of sales, profits, assets and market capitalisation value.

PV Gas is the main gas supplier in Vietnam. It supplies input fuel for generation of nearly 40 percent of national power output, 70 percent of fertilizer demand and 60 percent of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), that help ensure national energy and food security.

In the first three months of this year, PV Gas earned a net profit of nearly 3.182 trillion VND (150.8 million USD), down 23.4 percent year-on-year. However, Ninh said performance of the corporation would be stable in the second half of the year and it targets a pre-tax profit of over 7 trillion VND (331.8 million USD).-VNA