An affiliate of Taiwan's Taya Electric Wire and Cable Co (大亞電線電纜) yesterday became the first foreign firm to list on a stock exchange in Vietnam, the State Securities Commission (SSC) said.
"Taya has entered the Ho Chi Minh City bourse. It's a piece of good news for Vietnam's stock exchanges," SSC vice president Vu Bang said.
Taya Vietnam, which is based in the southern province of Dong Nai, listed 3.65 million shares with a total face value of 36.53 billion dong (US$2.29 million), the SSC said.
Taya received the license in early December. The SSC then said the firm was chosen because it was profitable and had already placed 20 percent of its registered capital.
"We hope that other foreign companies will follow suit in the future. It's a start and it will certainly provide us with necessary experience to better manage the sector," Bang said.
"Our stock markets are still very limited in size and we want to develop them in line with the economic development of the country," he said.
Tony Foster, a leading member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, said yesterday's listing was "a very good step" for Vietnam's capital markets, but urged the government to make it easier for foreign firms to list.
"The process has been a very arduous one [for Taya]. The government should make it more straightforward for more foreign invested companies to do what this company has done," said Foster, of the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
"The whole process of [foreign firms] converting into joint stock companies is unduly burdensome," he said.
Taya Vietnam was launched in 1995 as part of Taipei's then "go south" policy of encouraging firms to invest in countries other than China in order not to concentrate too much business in China.
The Ho Chi Minh City market has operated since July 2000. According to official figures, Vietnam has more than 2,400 state-owned enterprises, but only 31 of them are listed in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam's second stock exchange opened in Hanoi in March last year.
The bourse offered shares in about 10 state-owned enterprises as well as bonds and other financial instruments.
Last month, the listing of Vietnam's top dairy products group, Vinamilk, doubled the value of the entire market capitalization at the Ho Chi Minh City exchange to almost US$1.0 billion.
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