State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have divested nearly 2.3 trillion VND (108 million USD) from non-core businesses in the first nine months of 2014, the Ministry of Finance has revealed.

The figure was 3.7 times higher than that of 2013 but accounted for only 10.2 percent of the total proposed divestment of 22.5 trillion VND (1 billion USD) by 2015.

Sectors for divestment include securities, banking, insurance, and real estate.

Most of the divestment activities took place in the banking sector. However, since bank stocks have lost their previous attraction, SOEs had to forego profits by selling at prices lower than or equal to the initial purchase prices for these stocks.

For example, Vietnam National Shipping Lines is trying to sell its 2.52-percent stake in Maritime Bank for 15,650 VND a stock, approximately the buying price several years ago.

After deducting initial investment costs, divesting costs and taxes, proceeds from SOEs' divestments will be recorded in their profits, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, proceeds from dividends made in 2013 will be added to the State budget. According to the State Capital Investment Corporation, the proceeds are worth 19 trillion VND (892 million USD), of which about 80 percent will go to the State.

Under the schedule of equitising SOEs, a total of 432 corporations shall be privatised in 2014 and 2015. However, only 71 SOEs have been equitised so far this year.

The ministry explained that the remaining SOEs are large corporations with complex financial operations and large investors, and therefore divestments there require lengthy preparations.

"The major reason for the lateness is the unstable stock and real estate markets, causing unfavourable conditions for divestment and equitisation," the ministry revealed in a report. It added that the economy grew slowly, so the SOEs had failed to improve their operations and financial status.

The ministry said the total profit of SOEs in 2013 reached 171.67 trillion VND (8 billion USD), a 17-percent year-on-year increase. However, parallel to that are doubtful debts that increased by 15.8 percent to 10.3 trillion VND (483.5 million USD).-VNA