VnSteel, the biggest steel producer in Vietnam, is in talks with five major Japanese steel firms to seek a foreign partner by the year’s end.
The foreign firms are Nippon Steel Corporation, JFE Steel, Tokyo Steel, Kobe Steel and Marubeni Itochu Steel, said VnSteel president Le Phu Hung.
Hung added that his firm would also talk with other firms like Sumitomo and Kyoei. The Vietnamese firm’s managers will fly to Japan to approach the potential partners on October 10.
“We will meet and invite them to be VnSteel's strategic partners,” said Hung, saying the firm would choose one among those to be its partner.
The move as part of VnSteel’s ongoing equitisation progress. The former state-owned steel producer made its initial public offering (IPO) in early June, in which it sold a 5.75 stake, or 39.1 million shares, of VND6.8 trillion ($329 million) in chartered capital to the public. The sold volume fell short of the planned offering of 10 per cent or 68 million shares.
VnSteel planned to raise capital by VND1.2 trillion ($57.9 million) to VND8 trillion ($386.5 million) via a shares issuance to a foreign partner next year.
However, room for the partner might be enlarged, added by the outstanding shares from June’s IPO, according to Hung. The adjustment was also in the firm’s attempt to reduce the government’s ownership ratio from current some 95 per cent to 65 per cent in the short term and even 51 per cent in the longer term.
At the time of the IPO, VnSteel said Japan’s Nippon Steel Corp and Marubeni Itochu Steel, Russia’s Novolipetsk Steel, and Evraz Group SA were interested in being its partner.
At the moment, Hung emphasised the possibility to cooperate with a Japanese firm due to “cultural similarities,” also referring to reasons in terms of technique and management.
Hung expected the shares issuance will be completed in the fourth quarter, with the firm’s stock expected to list soon on the local exchange. He added that the firm was seeking an advisory agent and its plan would be soon submitted to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for approval.