Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) has shown interest in acquiring a stake in state-owned MobiFone
Telecommunications Corporation (MobiFone) when the Vietnamese mobile network operator launches an initial public offering (IPO), Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Telecommunications (MIC) has said on its website.
Grabbing a stake in MobiFone is part of Singtel’s plan to expand its overseas operations, said the firm’s Vice President for Business Development Oliver Foo during a meeting with Vice Minister of Information and Telecommunications Pham Hong Hai in Hanoi on August 19.
The ministry supports foreign companies’ intentions to join the Vietnamese market and invest in MobiFone, said Hai, asking Singtel to hold talks with the Vietnamese telco to discuss their cooperation.
MobiFone, the second largest mobile network operator after Viettel, will be the first telco in the country to undergo privatization. Its share sale plan was initiated around a decade ago but has been sluggish due to the government’s reluctance.
Before Singtel, a host of foreign firms including Norway’s Telenor, Sweden’s Comvik and Australia’s Telstra had expressed their intentions to become strategic shareholders of MobiFone.
MobiFone was split in 2014 from state-run Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT
), which is asking for government endorsement to own a 20% stake in MobiFone after the IPO.
MobiFone’s privatization scheme is reportedly on Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s table. Its destiny remains uncertain after the government launched a comprehensive inspection into the firm’s acquisition of TV pay provider Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG
Singtel, having an enterprise value of $47 billion, provides a diverse range of services including fixed, mobile, data, internet, TV, infocomms technology (ICT) and digital solutions. Its operations have reached out to Thailand and India.