Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vietnam's Mobifone IPO excites foreigners

Mobifone’s IPO excites foreign eyes
09:03' 25/09/2007 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge - MobiFone is proceeding with its equitisition process with large global mobile operators looking to be strategic partners. MobiFone submitted its equitisation financial consultant bidding document to its parent VNPT Group in late August to start the bidding.

Its equitisation process has lagged behind schedule, however, it is likely to meet its final deadline to make an initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

Comvik International AB, a former part of MobiFone operator’s Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services company (VMS), has talked up its contribution to MobiFone’s healthy market position.

“The exact mechanism for the sale of equity and the selection of the eventual foreign partner for VMS is currently being considered, but we believe that there is no other company that can be ahead of Comvik as the preferred partner because of our history, our proven record of success and our unwavering support to Vietnam in the past, present and future,” said Jeffrey Noble, Comvik chief representative and CEO.

Its advantages from its parent Kinnevik Group and its sister companies in Cambodia and Laos are expected to make MobiFone a regional player.

“Quite simply, there is no other company that can match what Comvik has to offer to Mobifone and its customers,” said Noble.

The world’s tenth biggest GSM operator Telenor has been active in Vietnam for more than two years and is looking for a long-term investment in Vietnam.

“Our target and only objective is to become a sole foreign strategic investor to the local operator in order for Telenor to be able to contribute our competence, expertise and technologies into the company we invest in,” said Nguyen Dinh Hung, Telenor country director. From Europe, France Telecom also expressed its willingness to purchase stake in MobiFone in the frame of the competitive process decided by the government. If it succeeds, France Telecom will act as a strategic partner, providing expertise in management, finance, technology, services, training and R&D labs.

“France Telecom will be eager to have a broader partnership with VNPT Group in order to develop cooperation in mobile, internet and integrated services,” said Jean Pierre Achouche, general manager of France Telecom Vietnam.

Vodafone is still investigating the market after opening its Vietnam representative office in June.
“We announced the opening of our representative office in Vietnam only in June, this year and the government has yet to announce Mobifone’s equitisation plan, so it is too early to comment on a potential transaction,” said Jonathan Kriegel, Vodafone country chief representative.

Singapore Technologies Telemedia has demonstrated its capabilities by supporting the successful StarHub, Singapore’s premier converged information, communications and entertainment company. Since ST Telemedias’ investment in Indonesia’s Indosat less than five years ago, Indosat has grown its subscriber base by more than 400 per cent from about 3.5 million in 2002 to more than 20 million this year. Its net income surged by approximately 310 per cent to Rp1,410.1 billion ($1.36 billion) and network coverage has more than tripled to 8,200 base transceiver stations across the country.