State-owned utilities company Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) is planning to sell a 30% stake in its telecoms arm, EVN Telecom, to a foreign strategic partner, Dow Jones Newswires writes, citing an unnamed company executive. ‘We expect to sign an agreement with the foreign partner to sell the stake in EVN Telecom in the third quarter of this year,’ the executive said, adding that the operator has been holding talks with nine foreign companies that have expressed an interest in buying the stake. He refused to unveil the value of the stake, but said that EVN Telecom has been valued at more than USD500 million. Meanwhile, a further 19% of the company will likely be sold in an initial public offering (IPO) or to domestic strategic partners, with the government retaining a 51% stake in the company.
CommsUpdate reported last week that two unnamed investors from Singapore and Malaysia have reportedly offered to become EVN Telecom’s strategic partner. The operator is currently finalising the necessary procedures for its privatisation in September this year. Foreign investors must meet EVN’s conditions of experience in the telecoms arena, including the construction of 3G networks. If EVN completes the process in September as planned, it will become the country’s first privatised telecoms company; cellcos Viettel and MobiFone were approved for privatisation as far back as 2005, but they have not yet completed the process.