The move follows a government order last year to speed up privatisation of electricity-generating firms.

The state, which owns 99.68 percent in the country's third-biggest power producer, plans to reduce its stake to 65 percent in the first stage, the government said.

Vinacomin Power, whose charter capital stands at 6.8 trillion dong, went private and was listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange last year. The company's shares were flat at 14,000 dong on Thursday.

The firm produced 4.8 billion kilowatt hour power output in the first half of this year, up 13 percent from a year earlier. Revenue from power production jumped 15 percent to 6.2 trillion dong in the same period.

In July last year, Vietnam stopped buying electricity from China, given the increased output from domestic coal-fired and hydropower plants, according to EVN reports.

Hanoi has been striving to trim stakes in state-owned enterprises (SOEs), many of which have low profitability, but the progress has been slow given the small stakes on offer, sizable state control and concerns about vested interests.

Vietnam's reform drive, however, picked up pace after Nguyen Xuan Phuc was sworn in as prime minister in April. He has asked privatised SOEs and big players to speed up listing shares.

As part of its privatisation drive, Vietnam is looking to sell stakes in dairy company Vinamilk, top brewers Sabeco, Habeco and other state-owned enterprises.

Reuters - July 27, 2017