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Japanese airline eyes 10% stake at VN Air
Lan Nhi
Thursday,  Oct 8, 2015,20:48 (GMT+7)

Japanese airline eyes 10% stake at VN Air

Lan Nhi

By Lan Nhi - The Saigon Times Daily

Vietnam Airlines aircraft are seen at Noi Bai International Airport. ANA is in talks over a strategic stake at Vietnam Airlines - PHOTO: LE ANH

HANOI - Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) is in negotiations over a strategic stake at Vietnam Airlines, and the two parties are expected to finalize the deal in the first quarter of 2016.

A source told the Daily that the two airlines have organized several working sessions to discuss the issue. Negotiations are progressing well and ANA would buy 10% out of the 20% stake offered by Vietnam’s national flag carrier.

Financial matters are not the reason for ANA’s decision to buy a 10% stake. If the Japanese partner buys a stake of over 10%, it would have to explain to a national competition council over the ownership ratio. ANA does not want control and examination by a third party, the source said.

The two carriers have yet to agree on share pricing. However, the price would be no lower than VND22,300 each share, the average winning bid at Vietnam Airlines’ initial public offering (IPO) in November 2014.

Other foreign partners, especially airlines, still have room to buy into Vietnam Airlines.

With the 20% stake, or 282 million shares, offered, Vietnam Airlines is expected to raise over VND6.3 trillion (US$281 million). Having received new aircraft A350 and Boeing 787 a few months ago, Vietnam Airlines has been active in fleet expansion and service quality improvement to win a four-star status.

A Vietnam News report says that chairman of Vietnam Airlines Pham Viet Thanh, speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Transport Ministry in late September, did not reveal the name of the possible strategic investor but said it was a big investor from Japan. The investor expressed special interest in the firm and expected to reach final agreement on this strategic investment.

Thanh said his airline had established a negotiation team and mapped out a detailed plan to carry out negotiations with the above investor.

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