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Vietnam bank BIDV plans foreign stake sales in 2016

Wednesday, July 01, 2015, 17:13 GMT+7

Vietnamese lender BIDV, the country's biggest partly private bank by assets, said it could sell stakes to foreign strategic partners next year, as the Southeast Asian nation further opens up its economy to outsiders.

Hanoi-based BIDV may sell a 15-20 percent stake to a long-term foreign investor in the banking sector, and 10 percent to another overseas investor, while state ownership would be kept at 65 percent, chairman Tran Bac Ha told a news conference on Wednesday.

Ha did not name any investors BIDV has been in talks with due to confidentiality or say by when in 2016 the stake sales would be done, saying it depends on the performances of Vietnam's stock market and BIDV shares.

Vietnam's limits on foreign ownership in the banking sector remains unchanged even after the government announced last week that it will lift the foreign ownership cap in many listed firms from Sept. 1, 2015.

Vietnamese banks are now permitted to have a foreign shareholding of up to 30 percent, with a single strategic partner allowed a maximum 20 percent. Special cases can be made, however, for larger foreign stakes in banks designated as "weak" by the central bank.

Prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung, however, said in April the government is preparing to amend rules to allow foreign investors to own more than 30 percent of a Vietnamese bank.

BIDV's registered capital has gone up by 12 percent to 31.48 trillion dong ($1.44 billion) after completing a merger with state-owned Mekong Housing Bank in May, senior executive vice-president Tran Phuong told reporters.

BIDV, formally called the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, was 95.76 percent owned by the State Bank of Vietnam, the country's central bank, as of end-2013, according to Thomson Reuters data.

BIDV shares ticked up 0.45 percent to 22,200 dong at 0617 GMT on Wednesday, having surged 74 percent from the beginning of this year to Tuesday's close. ($1=21,805 dong) 



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