Viet­nam ea­ger to pri­va­tise power plants

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

HANOI: Viet­nam is push­ing to speed up the pri­vati­sa­tion of power plants un­der three state groups that con­trol its en­ergy sec­tor with an aim to cut gov­ern­ment own­er­ship by 2020, sig­nalling its com­mit­ment to raise funds and im­prove ef­fi­ciency.

Hanoi has been striv­ing to trim stakes in state-owned en­ter­prises (SOEs), many of which have low profitabil­ity, but progress has been slow given small stakes on of­fer, siz­able state con­trol and con­cerns about vested in­ter­ests.

Viet­nam’s re­form drive has, how­ever, picked up pace af­ter the April swear­ing in of Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who has asked pri­va­tised SOEs, big play­ers like flag car­rier Viet­nam Air­lines, to speed up list­ing shares.

Phuc has now listed mea­sures to quicken the pri­vati­sa­tion of the elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion firms owned by state util­ity Viet­nam Elec­tric­ity (EVN) group, PetroViet­nam and min­ing group Vi­na­comin, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment is­sued late on Mon­day.

While the state en­ergy groups will still own the ma­jor­ity of shares in the power plants by 2018, they will need to re­view and cut their own­er­ship to be­low 50% within two years since the pri­vati­sa­tion date, the state­ment said with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

The gov­ern­ment will, how­ever, re­tain full con­trol of power trans­mis­sion, reg­u­lat­ing the na­tional grid as well as build­ing and op­er­at­ing ma­jor power plants, the state­ment added.

Ac­cord­ing to an ear­lier plan, ap­proved in De­cem­ber 2015 and seen by Reuters, power plants un­der EVN, PetroViet­nam and Vi­na­comin were ex­pected to sell shares by 2020.

The gov­ern­ment has also asked the In­dus­try and Trade Min­istry to work with EVN to look at pri­vatis­ing elec­tric­ity re­tail sales, the state­ment said, adding that the power dis­tri­bu­tion firms would not be pri­va­tised.

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