Vietnam Airlines Sells Stake in Cambodia Angkor Air

Vietnam Airlines has flogged 35 percent of its shares in Cambodia Angkor Air to a Chinese company, earning Vietnam’s national carrier $35 million.
Cambodia Angkor Air flight attendant. Picture: Cambodia Angkor Air
Cambodia Angkor Air flight attendant. Picture: Cambodia Angkor Air

A Chinese company has bought 35 percent of Vietnam Airlines’ shares in Cambodia Angkor Air, the country’s national flag carrier, after having been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cambodia Angkor Air launched in 2009 under a joint venture between Vietnam Airlines, holding 49 percent stake, and the Cambodian government, which held the remaining 51 percent.

Vietnam Airlines had received $30 million and $4 million respectively from investors to buy back the contributed capital of the company at Cambodia Angkor Air, Viet Nam News reported this week.

After the transfer of 35 percent shares to new investors, Cambodia Angkor Air is no longer an affiliated company of Vietnam Airlines, an official media report said. It added that the remaining 14 percent of shares have been transferred to the investment portfolio to contribute capital to other entities.

An email seeking comment from Vietnam Airlines went unanswered on Thursday. Tekret Samrach, chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air, did not answer his phone on Friday.

Sinn Chansereyvutha, a spokesman for the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation (SSCA), said on Thursday that a Chinese company had bought the 35 percent of shares. However, he could not remember its name.

“A Chinese had bought the shares, but I don’t remember the name,” Chansereyvutha said via a Telegram message.

“The negotiations began [at the] end of 2019, in 2020 and it has just been now finalized,” Chansereyvutha said. “I don’t know other details. I know that there have been buying and selling of Cambodia Angkor Air shares.”

Cambodia Angkor Air was severely affected by pandemic-fueled travel restrictions. In response, it has restructured and reduced its scale of operations, maintaining only a few main routes with minimal frequency to cut costs, Viet Nam News said.

Cambodia Angkor Air lost $17.7 million last year, an increase of 37.2 per cent compared to 2020’s losses, the media release said.