Mobile World to list in Vietnam

HANOI — Mobile World Co, Vietnam’s biggest phone retailer, plans to list shares in June amid a rally which has made the country’s $52-billion stock market Asia’s best performer this year.

The company may start trading about 63 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, Tran Huy Thanh Tung, the head of Mobile World’s supervisory board, said in an e-mail interview. The initial price hasn’t been decided yet, he said.

Mobile World aims to boost pretax earnings 47% to 513 billion dong ($24.3 million) this year by taking a larger share of mobile-device sales, Mr Tung said. Vietnam’s VN Index climbed 22% last year, its biggest annual gain in four years, as overseas investors put a net $263 million into the nation’s stocks amid growing appetite for the least-developed markets.

“There will be demand,” said Giang Trung Kien, head of research at FPT Securities JSC. The listing will boost investors’ choice of consumer shares, helping them diversify from Vietnam Dairy Products JSC and Kinh Do Corp, he said.

Shares of Vinamilk, as the nation’s biggest dairy company is known, have increased 37% in the past year while Kinh Do, the largest confectionery maker, has risen 35%. That compares with the VN Index’s 14% gain in the period.

Vietnam’s economy grew 5.42% last year, faster than the 5.25% pace in 2012. The government predicts economic growth will quicken to 5.8% in 2014. The VN Index will climb 7% from its closing yesterday to 603 by year-end, according to the average of 10 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey in January.

Mekong capital

The index has gained 13% so far this year, the most among Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg. The gauge rose 0.6% today at the open, heading for the highest close since October 2009.

Mobile World aims to boost revenue to 12.6 trillion dong ($597 million) this year from 9.2 trillion dong in 2013, Mr Tung said.

The company is seeking to increase its share in the sale of mobile devices to 30% by 2016 from 20%, Chris Freund, managing partner at Mekong Capital, which owns about 25% of the company, said in a Feb 11 interview. It runs 213 stores, up from seven in 2007 when Mekong first invested, Mr Freund said. The number will rise to 253 this year, Mr Tung said.

There were 98 million mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam as of December, the nation’s Ministry of Information and Communication said Dec 26. The nation has a population of about 93 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Viet Capital Securities JSC, the nation’s third-largest brokerage, will advise the company on the listing, Mr Tung said.

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