Value of Vietnam's 'bikini airline' overtakes national carrier
By My Pham
HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnamese private budget airline VietJet's VJC.HM market capitalization surpassed that of state-owned Vietnam Airlines HVN.HNO on Monday, only a week after it was listed.
VietJet grabbed headlines with bikini-clad flight attendants when it was launched in 2011 and its success on the Ho Chi Minh stock exchange reflects its rapid ascent since.
It has become known in Vietnam as the "bikini airline" and female crew do still wear them, but only on some flights.
Its market share is expected to top that of Vietnam Airlines this year, a feat it has achieved by tapping into a fast-growing economy and a young population starting to travel more.
VietJet shares hit 137,400 dong ($6.03) each, valuing it at$1.8 billion, ahead of Vietnam Airlines at $1.7 billion.
On its first trading day VietJet was valued at $1.4 billion and its rival, which listed in January, at $2.1 billion.
Growth in the Vietnamese market, which is one of the fastest in Asia Pacific, and a relatively small free-float in VietJet shares for retail investors, had driven the price of the shares, brokers said.
VietJet's stock has a lower price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of 15.75 compared with 16.63 for Vietnam Airlines, Thomson Reuters data showed. Continued...