In this article we trace the history of state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform in Laos. Commencing in 1986, SOE reform was a component of the New Economic Mechanism (NEM), a program of changes that moved the economy toward one based on market principles. SOE reform is located within the broader reforms associated with the NEM and is divided into three distinct phases. We present and analyze a case study of the reform of the national electricity company (Électricité du Laos) in terms of a stages model of power sector reform. The overall findings show the importance of context in influencing the specific nature of SOE reform.