​Vietcombank to sell 10% stake to foreign investors in 2018

The shares will be issued to a limited number of foreign investors

Employees work at a Vietcombank office. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) is looking to sell 350 million shares, or a ten-percent stake, to foreign investors in the first half of 2018.

The bank’s chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the plan for the private placement had been approved by the relevant authorities.

“We have submitted our plan to the State Bank of Vietnam and the government for approval,” Thanh said.

The shares would be issued by way of public auction or private placement to a limited number of foreign investors, and sales of the issuance would be based on market prices but not lower than the valuation rate, the chairman added.

Vietcombank is Vietnam’s top lender by market value, whose shares closed at VND71,900 (US$3) on Monday, having doubled in value since the end of 2016.

The bank has a market capitalization of nearly VND258.68 trillion ($11.36 billion) as of February 2018.

Thanh told reporters that Singapore's sovereign fund GIC was among the potential buyers, while Japan’s Mizuho Bank, the biggest foreign investor in Vietcombank with a 15-percent stake, would be allowed to buy additional shares to maintain its ownership ratio at the bank, Nikkei reported.

Vietnam's law prevents one foreign investor from holding more than 30 percent of a state bank.

Vietcombank is among a small number of banks that have a 9.12 percent stake reserved for foreign investors, Nikkei cited Linh Nguyen from Saigon Securities Research as saying.

Thanh also announced plans to divest from Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB) and Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) to avoid cross-ownership pursuant to Vietnamese laws.

Vietcombank would reduce its ownership at these lenders to five percent by June 30, he said.

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