Vietnam's merger and acquisition (M&A) deals hit a record $4 billion last year, encouraged by a turnaround for the $186 billion economy which as recently as 2011 was fighting a 20-plus percent inflation rate and a banking sector saddled by bad debt.

Mobifone, Vietnam Rubber Group, shipping firm Vinalines and Power General Corporation 3 could have initial public offerings this year, Dang Quyet Tien, deputy director at the finance ministry's department of corporate finance, told Reuters in reply to questions about M&As in the country in 2016.

The government this year could also divest further from beer firms Habeco and Sabeco, Vietnam's top textiles and garment maker Vinatex, flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and Petrolimex, the nation's top oil product importer and distributor, Tien said.

There has also been talk about the sale of the government's $3.1 billion worth of shares in profitable dairy products maker Vinamilk, held by government investment arm State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC).

The finance ministry's Tien said 2016 could mark some "divestment in big portfolios of SCIC".

By Mai Nguyen - Reuters - January 7, 2016