Vietnam’s PV Gas share sale drawing tepid investor interest

The response of local Vietnamese and international investors to this week’s stock offering by state-owned PetroVietnam subsidiary PV Gas is turning out to be less than enthusiastic, a senior consultant at a local securities company told Platts Tuesday.

Only about two-thirds of the 94.75 million common shares of PV Gas on offer — representing about 5% of the company — have been spoken for, according to the information on the HoChiMinh Stock Exchange website, meaning that there is unlikely to be any deviation from the published offer price of Vietnamese dong 31,000 ($1.57).

Investors have registered interest for 61.0 million shares in the public portion of the sale, with more than 90% of that interest coming from local investors or companies. Only about 7% of the interest comes from foreign investors, according to the exchange’s information.

“It does not mean that PV Gas’ shares are not attractive to the investment community. The fact that the local stock markets has kept going down recently is the main force that leads to the current dilemma,” said the consultant. It is unlikely that enough interest will arise before the end of Wednesday so that PV Gas can sell the remaining 35.7% portion of the public offering, she said.

Over the last year, the HCM Exchange’s main VN Index has fallen from around 550 points to near 426, losing nearly a quarter of its value.

PV Gas announced in October that it was selling 5% of the company in its stock offering that at the published price values the company at about $3 billion. At the same time, PV Gas also said it would be offering a 14.93% stake in the company to strategic investors, and another 0.7% to PV Gas employees and labor unions.

Local media reports in Vietnam have said the portion of the sale open to strategic investors has attracted the interest of bidders such as US oil company ConocoPhillips, India’s state-owned ONGC, Thailand’s PTT and the US-based Blackstone Group.

Chu Thi Trung, the deputy finance manager at PV Gas, however, declined to reveal the identities of any of the strategic investors that have shown interest. Previously, PV Gas had said that of 40 applications of interest for the strategic portion of the sale from international companies, 14 had been approved to compete as bidders.

Trung said that results of Wednesday’s IPO would be posted on the exchange website the next day, and that PV Gas shares would start trading on the HCM Exchange in February 2011.

The share sale is being managed by VietCapital Securities Company.

From VietNamBusiness

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