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Vietnam aims to sell stakes in nearly 100 state firms by end of 2020

[HANOI] Vietnam plans to speed up its privatisation programme by selling stakes in nearly 100 state-owned firms by the end of 2020, including Agribank, the government said late on Thursday.

The South-east Asian country has been selling stakes in state firms in recent years to improve their performance and to fill the government's coffers, but the pace has been slower than scheduled recently.

The government now plans to sell stakes in 93 firms by the end of next year, it said in a statement. They will include up to 35 per cent stakes in Agribank - the country's biggest bank by assets which was formally known as the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development - as well as in Vietnam National Coal–Mineral Industries Holding Corp, the country's largest coal miner, and in Vietnam Northern Food Corp.

Agribank, which has total assets of nearly US$56 billion, said last week it targets pretax profit of 10 trillion dong (S$595.2 million) this year, up 32.9 per cent from last year.

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The government said it will also sell up to 50 per cent stakes in mobile telecom carrier MobiFone and as well as in Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group and Vietnam National Chemical Group.

It also plans to sell up to 100 per cent of Vietnam Paper Corp by the end of next year and two power-generating units of Vietnam Electricity Group, it said.