National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will sell more shares to foreign investors, including possibly another airline, as part of its larger efforts to expand its fleet to meet growing travel demand.
The carrier will discuss the sale of another 4.1 per cent as early as this month with potential investors, CEO Mr. Duong Tri Thanh said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The first batch of shares from the additional sale could be sold later this year or in 2018. Interested investors could be another airline or financial institutions, he said.
Vietnam Airlines last year sold 8.8 per cent to All Nippon Airways (ANA), the largest airline in Japan, for $108 million. The strategic partner, who is limited by Japanese regulation to a 10 per cent stake in Vietnam Airlines, can acquire shares in the Vietnamese carrier’s subsidiaries, Mr. Thanh said.
The company floated nearly 1.23 billion shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) in early January this year and plans to list its shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) next year.
Its shares have fluctuated from VND27,000 ($1.19) to VND30,000 ($1.32) over the past month. Its market value closed at VND33.27 trillion ($1.46 billion) after the trading session on November 9, compared to Vietjet Air’s $2.3 billion, Vietnam’s privately-run budget carrier and its direct rival in the domestic market.
The share sales are part of the carrier’s ambitious plan to expand and upgrade its fleet and improve overall service quality, Mr. Thanh said in a separate interview during the APEC CEO Summit in Da Nang.
The airline has been expanding its fleet with new wide-body aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, aiming to compete with Vietjet Air. It signed a deal last year to buy ten A350 wide-bodied aircraft with a list price of $3.1 billion and earlier ordered 19 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
It plans to have 110 aircraft by 2020 and 150 by 2030, from 92 now, according to Mr. Thanh.
Photo: Vietnam Airlines