VietJet wants to be 1st Vietnam company to list overseas, Singapore among suitors

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of Vietnamese budget carrier VietJet, is also the country's first self-made woman billionaire.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO of Vietnamese budget carrier VietJet, is also the country's first self-made woman billionaire.PHOTO: EPA

HANOI (BLOOMBERG) - VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co, which controls almost half of Vietnam's domestic airline market, is in talks to become the first company in the Southeast Asian nation to list its shares in an overseas stock exchange.

"We've been approached by some foreign stock exchanges including London, Hong Kong and Singapore, which expressed their interest in our stock," Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, VietJet's founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview in Hanoi on Sunday (May28), adding that she will meet exchange officials in New York later this week.

The plan for the low-cost carrier comes amid the government's easing of rules to allow more foreign investment in one of the fastest-growing aviation markets. Hanoi-based VietJet, known for a marketing stunt featuring bikini-clad service crew, received shareholder approval in April to boost its foreign ownership limit to 49 per cent from 30 per cent.

The increase will need to be approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc because aviation is considered a restricted industry, with foreign ownership currently capped at 30 per cent.

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The stock has surged 50 per cent since it started trading three months ago, compared with the 5.5 per cent in the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Airlines Index.

"We don't want to hide our hope to become the first Vietnamese company to list shares overseas," the billionaire said.