Banks seek foreign partners, consider lifting foreign-ownership cap

Vietnamese commercial banks are planning to sell a stake in their company to foreign investors to attract capital and hasten their restructuring before listing shares on the bourse.

banks seek foreign partners, consider lifting foreign-ownership cap hinh 0

HD Bank plans to sell a 20% stake to foreign investors to reach US$300 million before listing shares at the HCMC Stock Exchange by early 2018. 

HD Bank’s deputy chair Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao said the bank would sell no more than a five percent stake to each foreign investor. 

Asked about strategic partners, Thao said investors from Hong Kong, Japan and the Republic of Korea had shown interest in the bank’s shares.

HD Bank shares are traded on OTC at VND27,000 per share. The bank reported pre-tax profit of VND1.9 trillion in the first three quarters of the year, 3.5 times higher than that of the same period last year. 

Of this, HD Bank holding had pre-tax profit of VND1.7 trillion, or 1.5 times higher than the profit gained in the whole year of 2016, the highest ever figure.

The bank predicts pre-tax profit of VND2.4 trillion in 2017 and VND3.9 trillion in 2018. It hopes that the total average assets will increase by 25% per annum from the VND180 trillion in 2017.

SCB is also moving ahead with its plan to sell a stake to foreign investors. Its CEO Vo Tan Hoang Van said the bank is negotiating with foreign investors, including banks, investment funds and insurance companies from Norway, Indonesia, Taipei and China.

SCB is the first Vietnamese bank to receive the government’s approval to sell a 50% stake to foreign investors. It hopes to attract at least US$700 million from the sale.

Van said SCB wants a foreign finance corporation to become its partner to help the bank improve capital capability and accelerate restructuring and bad debt settlement assets.

Meanwhile, VP Bank plans to offer 5% of total ordinary shares in circulation to IFC in accordance with the resolution released at the shareholders’ meeting on August 1. 

This is a part of a plan to convert commercial loans into contributed capital. Foreign shareholders now hold more than 22% of the bank’s shares.

Van from SCB said that in general, foreign investors buying into banks under restructuring want to hold more than a 50% stake. This is why SCB asked the central bank for permission to sell more than 50% of shares.

Bankers say it is necessary to lift the foreign ownership ratio ceiling to attract foreign investors. This will bring benefit to Vietnamese banks, especially those under restructuring, because foreign investors can join the board of management and the bank can apply modern banking technology.


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