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Firms delay dividends despite making profits

Update: November, 07/2013 - 09:22
Others halting dividends include Saigon Machinery Spare Parts (SMA) which had not paid out since 2011 and Petro Capital Infrastructure Investment (PTL) which had asked for delays four times so far.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Many listed firms made profits on the books but some have delayed dividend payments for up to four years in a row, seeing many small investors suffer.

Notable is the rise in this behavior, in 2007, the percentage of companies which did not pay dividends was only 2 per cent. However, it climbed to around 40 per cent last year.

Hoang Van Tuyen, a small shareholder of construction company Song Da 7 (SD7), said the firm's share value had been declining so dividends were his only hope to recoup his investment. However, Song Da 7 put his pay-out into arrears until next year.

"I am not sure whether the company will pay me for next year's second quarter or postpone the payment one more time," he said.

According to the company's financial reports, it remained profitable. Sanctions to force businesses to pay out dividends on time remain absent from the legal framework.

Another construction firm – Vinaconex 15 (V15) – is also waiting until next year.

Others halting dividends include Saigon Machinery Spare Parts (SMA) which had not paid out since 2011 and Petro Capital Infrastructure Investment (PTL) which had asked for delays four times so far.

Despite a loss during the first six months of this year, PTL still made profits in 2011 and 2012.

"Although companies reported profits, their cash in hand was actually very low," noted Viet Nam Investment Securities Company analyst Nguyen Huu Binh.

"In addition, companies might forecast a source of income by a certain point of time, but thereafter it could not be accomplished."

The third reason Binh cited was that firms usually prioritised bank debts before paying dividends.

According to law firm Basico's Truong Thanh Duc, the legal framework should be more thorough in terms of making companies comply with serving shareholders interests.

Apart from state imposed administrative measures, if companies are too slow in paying dividends, they will in turn lose investors. — VNS

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