Vinalines to make public offering in first quarter hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam National Shipping Lines will make an initial public offering (IPO) in Q1 of 2016, said Vu Anh Minh, Director of the Ministry of Transport’s enterprise management department.

The State-run company, better known as Vinalines, built an equitisation plan last year, under which the State will retain a stake of 36 percent.

Minh said that before the company becomes a joint stock firm, its debts will be reduced to 3.2 trillion VND (142.2 million USD). This value is expected to be further lowered to 1.8 trillion VND by the end of 2016.

Vinalines Chairman Le Anh Son said the company’s debt is currently about 6.2 trillion VND, down 46 percent from the 11.4 trillion VND recorded on December 31, 2013, before the restructuring began.

Vinalines faced an extremely tough time from 2010 to 2015, witnessing serious business declines in the face of economic turmoil. Its investment mistakes and mismanagement of funds even led to a debt value that more than quadrupled its charter capital in late 2010.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued a decision in February 2013 adopting comprehensive reorganisation of the company to help it cope with the situation. The restructuring activities have focussed on marine transport, seaport exploitation and maritime services for the last three years.

“We defined that debt settlement is not only a goal of the restructuring scheme, but also a matter that will determine the survival of our company,” Son said.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong said the company has overcome hard times, but it must seek solutions to reach production and business targets, as the marine transport sector is expected to continue to face difficulties this year before a possible rally next year.

Vinalines Acting General Director Nguyen Canh Tinh said last year was the first year the company saw profits during the restructuring period, and this was meaningful to a firm facing financial problems and an ailing marine transport market.

Son last month told Giao thong, a newspaper published by the transport ministry, that the company earned a profit of about 40 billion VND, with total revenue of more than 18.4 trillion VND in 2015.

Biz Hub reported last month that the company planned to obtain profit of at least 126 billion VND, with a revenue growing by 3 percent year-on-year at 19 trillion VND in 2016.

Member enterprises
Vinalines officials said the company has completed equitising 12 member enterprises following the restructuring scheme. Its ports in Nghe Tinh, Can Tho, Nam Can, and Cam Ranh and Saigon were equitised last year.

Cam Ranh’s shares started trading on the stock market last year, along with shares in Hai Phong and Nha Trang, two previously equitised ports of Vinalines.

Son said that contrary to the marine transport situation in the country, port operations brought about the highest business results ever for Vinalines in 2015. Its ports obtained a combined profit of 800 billion VND, with Hai Phong and Saigon alone earning 600 billion VND last year.

He said that as the government has asked Vinalines to reduce its stakes in Hai Phong and Saigon ports to 20 percent and continue to divest from smaller ports, Vinalines will have to change its business structure.

This means that the company must understand how to improve the marine transport business, keeping in mind that oceangoing freights have sharply declined and competition is getting stiffer following Vietnam’s integration into the global economy.

“This is a very big issue that will fundamentally change the development strategies of Vinalines, and we must be prepared for that now,” Son said.

“I suppose that in the near future, the company will concentrate on building plans to develop a new fleet of vessels so that we can enhance our competition capacity while transportation service supplies exceed demand,” he said.

According to Son, as of the end of last year, Vinalines divested from 37 enterprises, dissolved seven businesses and let three companies fail. It gained more than 551 billion VND from these activities.

Vinalines will continue to divest from 15 other businesses this year, Minh from the transport ministry said without naming them.-VNA