Vietinbank, the second-largest bank by assets, would like Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) to name it as a strategic investor at member ports after the initial public offerings (IPO).

This is expected to act as a means of debt payment. The plan, which was disclosed by baodautu.vn newspaper, is expected to lift up grand debts, improve investment efficiency and administration after equitisation. The plan still needs the approval of the Ministry of Transport.

Vinalines incurs a total debt of 4.98 trillion VND (236 million USD), excluding interests paid to Vietinbank. Of this, the mother company takes 2.05 trillion VND (97 million USD) and subsidiaries 2.93 trillion VND (139 million USD).

The corporation targets to equitise eight companies this year, including Sai Gon Port, Cam Ranh Port, Nghe Tinh Port and Can Tho Port. Nam Can Port, Vinalines Hai Phong, Vinalines Shipping Company and Vinalines Container Shipping Company are also among the targeted companies. If the plan gets approval, Vietinbank and Vinalines will negotiate swap ratios and the percentage of stake in every single deal.

Next month, Vietinbank may take its stake in Hai Phong Port's IPO, the biggest port in the northern part of the country. The IPO will take place at Hanoi Stock Exchange on May 14, 2014.

Hai Phong Port is valued at 4.32 trillion VND (205.7 million USD), as much as 201 percent of its book value. The state's holdings in the port are estimated at 3.269 trillion VND (155.6 million USD). About 25 percent of the state's holdings in Hai Phong Port will be put on sale. Provisionally, Hai Phong Port will operate under the joint-stock-corporation model from July.

Unable to pay debts, Vinalines has finalised proposals to reschedule 100 trillion VND (4.7 billion USD) of local debt and 196.25 billion USD of foreign debt.

Vinalines has successfully equitised two units, Quy Nhon Port and Khuyen Luong Port, while Nha Trang Port has announced it will conduct an evaluation for equitisation.

Last April, the Prime Minister pushed for equitisation of the country's major ports and it must be implemented within the year 2014. This is aimed at diversifying investment resources for the development of ports.-VNA