UPDATE 1-Vietnam Petrolimex’s stock listing seen in April, valuation near $2.3 bln

(Adds chairman’s comments, background)

HO CHI MINH CITY, March 3 (Reuters) – Vietnam’s state-owned Petrolimex expects to list its shares on the local stock market around April 10-12, its chairman said, likely giving the nation’s top oil products distributor a valuation of around $2.3 billion and ranking it among its top-10 listed firms.

The listing on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange is part of the Vietnamese government’s push to privatise state-owned firms to attract investment. Three-fourths of Petrolimex is currently owned by the government while Japan’s JX Holdings owns another 8 percent.

Chairman Bui Ngoc Bao told Reuters on Friday the company had not yet set the listing price, which was expected at around its value on the over the counter (OTC) market.

Vietnam, which is slowly opening up its domestic market amid considerable investment interest, has completed several major share sales and listings in recent months, including a $3.72 billion listing of its top brewer Sabeco in which the government owns nearly 90 percent.

Saigon Securities, the adviser to Petrolimex’s listing, said in a report on Friday its shares trade at around 40,000 dong ($1.75) each in the OTC market.

“Petrolimex expects to have only one strategic investor which is JX in our core business of petrol and oil segment,” Bao told Reuters, adding that the firm expects to raise JX’s ownership in Petrolimex to around 20 percent in the future.

Petrolimex has a share of up to half of Vietnam’s total market in the oil and petrol retail and distribution business.

“The listing of Petrolimex will attract huge attention from investors thanks to its strong corporate governance and growth potential,” Nguyen Duy Hung, chairman of Saigon Securities, told Reuters.

Petrolimex’s businesses include the retailing and distribution of gas and petrochemicals. It reported a $226.6 million net profit in 2016. ($1=22,800 dong) (Reporting by My Pham; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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