A notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office has revealed that construction giant Phousy Group is seeking to purchase a major stake in BCEL bank.
The notice, issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on 10 November, states that it agrees to “assign the Ministry of Finance, in coordination with the Bank of the Lao PDR, to study a proposal made by Phousy Group Ltd to purchase 51% of shares in Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) currently held by the Ministry of Finance.”
The move is the latest application of the government’s policy to restructure flailing state enterprises, allowing the private sector a greater share.
Lawmakers called for reform of state enterprises during a National Assembly session held in April this year, saying that instead of assisting the national development, state enterprises were making huge losses and creating massive public debt.
While not the first time a state commercial bank has been sold off, BCEL is known to be one of the most popular banks among retail customers in Laos.
The news of the potential sale of its shares has already caused anxiety among social media users.
The notice by the Prime Minister’s Office states that the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of the Lao PDR should study cases wherein state banks have been sold in the past, citing the Lao Development Bank and Agricultural Promotion Bank as examples.
After completing their assessment, the ministry and the central bank are to report back to the Prime Minister prior to 30 November.
Phousy Group is a locally-owned conglomerate with interests in construction, petroleum, and mining.
It has been named among a list of six companies authorized by the government to undertake the mining of cryptocurrencies under a trial program which is hoped can assist the country in repaying national debt.
Join our Telegram channel to receive our regular news updates.