Confusion reigns over listing overseas

Published: 28/03/2011 05:00



There are several obstacles facing efforts to harmonise regulations on firms listing their shares on domestic as well as foreign exchanges, experts say.

Relevant agencies are actively working to find solutions to facilitate Vietnamese firms wanting to list their shares in stock exchanges abroad.

Nguyen Ngoc Canh, head of the State Securities Commission’s International Co-operation Department, said his office was in the process of completing a draft on guidelines to implementing the revised Law on Securities for submission to higher authorities. Proposed adjustments to regulations on listing abroad would be released before the end of April for the public and other stakeholders to comment on, he said.

The regulations would allow for listing in overseas markets either directly or via global depository receipts (GDRs), depending on several criteria including a company’s charter capital and corporate governance, Canh said.

Companies listing in other markets would also be required to report relevant information to the commission, he said.

The SSC has asked related institutions to develop their market infrastructure in order to meet businesses’ demand for cross-listing, Canh said, adding that the exchanges in Ha Noi and HCM City as well as the Viet Nam Securities Depository Centre have been implementing a project to upgrade the technical infrastructure for trading, monitoring and information release.

Despite many difficulties, the GDRs of Hoang Anh Gia Lai (listed on the HCM City Stock Exchange as HAG) became the first of Viet Nam to list on the London Stock Exchange last week, thanks to assistance from Deutsche Bank, its depository bank for the past two years.

According to an expert from that bank, HAG’s GDRs listing on the LSE would help improve liquidity of the DRs held by foreign investors, and more importantly, open up opportunities for the company, as well as others that follow it, to access international capital sources.

Last year, firms listed on Viet Nam’s stock exchanges mobilised VND116 trillion (US$5.5 billion), and many big firms plan to raise more capital this year. This can overload the domestic market, so foreign channels for raising funds can lessen the burden.

However, experts have pointed out that once a company lists on exchanges in the country and abroad, it will have to pay dividends to investors at the other exchange in foreign currencies, while the businesses’ own demand for foreign currency, especially the US dollar, is still higher than supply.

Residential projects

Despite the somewhat gloomy situation of the property market in general and residential segment in particular, several projects in the country have still proven attractive to customers because of the conveniences and green features they offer.

Last Saturday, the Cantavil Premier, a $70 million joint venture project between South Korea’s Daewoo and the Thu Duc Housing Development JSC in HCM City officially won customers for 90 out of the total 200 units. Forty units, or 20 per cent of the total (allowed under regulations) had already attracted customers via capital contribution contracts before Saturday, when the apartment models were launched and sales opened.

Meanwhile, the Ecolakes My Phuoc project in Binh Duong Province launched the sale of 81 townhouses on March 15 and has found buyers for 60 per cent of the properties, according to general director Leong Swee Chow.

In Ha Noi, the Rung Co apartments in the Ecopark Project invested in by the Viet Hung Urban Investment&Development Joint Stock Company (Vihajico) recently opened for sales and in just two days, attracted around 2,000 visitors.

Lord Mayor boosts ties

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung promised that the country would create favourable conditions for UK businesses to invest in various fields of the economy. The pledge was made during last week’s Viet Nam visit by the Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Michael Bear.

The PM also expressed his hope that the mayor would help expedite plans to establish a new financial and commercial centre in Ha Noi in the future.

HCM City People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan also invited British businesses to take part in building the Thu Thiem financial centre and called for assistance in the training of financial personnel, especially for the HCM City Stock Exchange and banks.

Bear said British businesses were keen on getting involved in Viet Nam’s huge development programmes and ready to share experiences to help implement public-private projects. They were also interested in assisting with the construction of a financial and commercial centre in the capital city, he said.

He said the UK would focus its assistance on infrastructure development through the public-private partnership (PPP) model because the country has gathered a lot of experience with it in many sectors over the last 50 years, including transportation, healthcare and water supply. Viet Nam could also expect assistance in improving its banking and insurance services, he said, adding education and training are other areas with potential for more co-operation.

During the mayor’s visit to the Viet Nam Commodity Exchange (VNX), general director Nguyen Duy Phuong hoped to benefit from the sharing of knowledge and experiences in operating the exchange, which stated operations in January. He also sought connections with related businesses and commodity exchanges elsewhere for future development.

The mayor advised VNX to focus on ensuring the three Cs – cash, creativity and commodity – to tap the growing global market.

Businesses in the Square Mile (City of London) could not only bring capital, but also technical expertise and management know-how to share with Vietnamese partners, he said.

Source: VNS

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