Company executives met with officials from the Ministry of Transport earlier this week to discuss the possibility of buying operational rights to existing projects from the state-owned Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), news website Saigon Times Online reported Thursday, quoting the ministry.

Vinci also hopes to partner with the corporation for new projects, it said.

The French company is the latest foreign investor to express interest in operating highways in Vietnam, but no deal has been struck so far, an unnamed source from the ministry was quoted as saying.

Under a plan announced nearly two years ago, VEC will privatize five expressways around the country: Cau Gie – Ninh Binh; Noi Bai – Lao Cai; Ho Chi Minh City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay; Da Nang – Quang Ngai; and Ben Luc – Long Thanh.

The roads, including three in operation, have a total length of ̀540 kilometers (335 miles) and cost nearly VND125.6 trillion (US$5.6 billion) in total.

VEC said the move was part of efforts to raise capital for future projects and reduce pressure on public funds.

Mai Tuan Anh, its CEO, told Saigon Times Online the corporation plans to establish companies to operate the expressways and private investors can buy stakes in the companies.

VEC is also open to selling out the companies, he said, stressing that the government would not hold a controlling stake.

Thanh Nien News - August 5, 2016