REFILE-UPDATE 1-Vietnam Airlines to issue $346 mln in shares to support recovery

(Refiles to add dropped word million in paragraph 1)

HANOI, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said on Tuesday it would issue nearly $346 million worth of shares for existing stakeholders to boost its recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and return to profitability by 2023.

The issuance will be completed by June next year after the carrier received approval from the authorities. All capital raised would pay off outstanding debts, its chairman Dang Ngoc Hoa said at a regular shareholder meeting.

“We have suffered from the worst crisis ever in history due to restrictions of governments around the world to curb the spread of the virus,” Hoa added.

With the uncertainty of the pandemic, Vietnam Airlines has set a target of full recovery and making profit from 2023.

The national flag carrier, 86% owned by the government, expected to make losses of 14.445 trillion dong ($624.65 million), about 2.4 trillion dong less than previously expected.

To support the airline, the Vietnamese government last month approved a plan to buy new shares from the flag carrier through its State Capital Investment Corp (SCIC).

How many shares SCIC would buy were not revealed at Tuesday’s event, but SCIC earlier said it could invest up to 6.8 trillion dong to buy new shares from the airline as part of the support plan. ($1 = 23,125.0000 dong) (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)