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Vietnam lists guidelines

for privatization

Vietnam, which plans to accelerate the privatization of hundreds of state-run firms this year, will retain full control of companies that operate energy projects, the national railroads and flight-control operations, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said. 

The newest member of the World Trade Organization also will continue to hold full control over military firms, the media and currency, Dung said in a directive that came to light. 

The Communist-run government is pushing the full or partial privatization of state-run firms, including some banks and insurance companies, to boost the supply of shares to the country's overheated stock markets. 

The main Ho Chi Minh City Securities Center and the over-the-counter Hanoi Securities Trading Center have about 200 listed companies. The combined market capitalization of $22 billion represents 38 percent of gross domestic product.  

The directive, which is expected to take effect in April, lists enterprises in which the state will hold a 100 percent stake, including: 

Production and supply of explosives, toxic chemicals, radioactive substances, equipment for national defense. 

The national power transmission grid and major electric generation projects. 

National and urban railroads, airports, large seaports, flight control, the marine safety agency, postal services, radio and television, publishing houses and the media, the state lottery. 

Money printing, coin minting, tobacco production, irrigation projects and dikes, planting of forests, and money lending to fulfill the government's socio-economic development targets. 

Enterprises in which the state will hold more than 50 percent include: 

Maintaining the national railroad system, urban drainage and public lighting systems, geographic and meteorological surveys. 

Production of vaccines. 

Power plants with capacity of 100 megawatts or more. 

Mining coal, bauxite, copper ore, iron ore, zinc ore, gold and gemstones; exploring and processing crude oil and natural gas. 

Building and repairing the air transport system. 

Providing telecommunication infrastructure. 

Steel mills with capacity of more than 300,000 tons per year; cement plants with design capacity of more than 1.5 million tons per year; key chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. 

Planting and processing rubber and coffee; breweries with capacity of more than 100 million liters per year. 

Producing paper for newspapers, or high-quality writing paper. 

Wholesale food, gasoline, oil products, medicine and pharmaceuticals. 

Purifying and supplying water. 

International marine transport, railroad and air transport. 

Money trading and insurance. 

The government imposes a 49 percent foreign ownership cap in non-bank businesses listed on the Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi stock markets. 

The foreign ownership ceiling in listed and unlisted banks is 30 percent, with a 10 percent cap for individual investors.

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