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Vietcombank set to list by September   2009-04-29 - VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Part-privatised Vietcombank's shareholders failed to set a date for its listing when they met yesterday.

But its executives are confident that it will eventually happen.

Vietcombank won approval in principle to list on the HCM City Stock Exchange without first having, sold 20 per cent of its shares to the public early last month.

"I can say for sure that Vietcombank will list on the HCM City Stock Exchange within the year," Vietcombank Chairman Nguyen Hoa Binh told Viet Nam News.

His general director, Nguyen Phuoc Thanh, was more precise; he put the date at no later than the third quarter of this year or the end of September.

Vietcombank won approval in principle to list on the HCM City Stock Exchange without first having, sold 20 per cent of its shares to the public early last month.

Government Decree 14/ 2007/ND-CP of January 2007 had delayed the listing since the commercial bank's Initial Public Offering in December 2007.

The decree stipulates that an enterprise can list shares only after at least 20 per cent of it has been sold to at least 100 investors.

The Ha Noi-based bank, which will be the first enterprise allowed to contravene the rule, submitted an application to list shares in HCM City on December 31, 2008.

It will be allowed to list the equitised 9.28 per cent of its charter capital or more than 112.28 million shares.

Some more administrative procedures were said still to be completed and the bank's in-house brokerage, Vietcombank Securities, would serve as listing consultant.

Strategic investor wanted

Vietcombank has been seeking one or more foreign strategic investors for more than a year.

But failure to negotiate an acceptable price for its shares and the onset of global financial crisis have delayed its plans to list with the stock exchange.

The bank's chairman Nguyen Hoa Binh said offers from international strategic investors had been received since the beginning of the year amid the global financial crisis. "But some wanted only a 5 per cent stake instead of the 10-15 per cent set by the Government.

"It may depend on the depth of their pockets," he said.

General Director Thanh Nguyen Phuoc Thanh said strategic investors must be drawn from banks and not funds and have no conflict of interest with Vietcombank.

Vietcombank shares have fallen 70 per cent from their initial auction price of VND107,860 ($6.10) to about VND30,000-40,000 ($1.70-2.26) in over-the-counter trading since its Initial Public Offering in December 2007.

Shareholders satisfied

Vietcombank reported sound growth for the year and about 99.7 per cent of its shareholders approved its targets for the year against the economic contraction at yesterday's annual meeting.

The bank posted pretax profit of VND3.32 trillion (US$187.8 million) after providing almost VND3 trillion ($167.97 million) for credit risk and VND610 billion ($34.46 million) for securities and long-term investment risk.

Loans increased by 15.53 percent and capital mobilisation by 10.48 per against 2007.

Vietcombank will promote and attract small-to-medium enterprises and individual customers as well as institutional customers in a bid to balance risk and boost its retail banking this year.

The shareholders meeting, the bank's second, set a profit target of VND3.32 trillion (US$187.8 million).

The figure anticipates credit growth of about 18 per cent compared with 16.4 per cent in 2008. It also anticipates a rise in total asset value to VND246.24 trillion ($13.91 billion), 11 per cent higher than 2008.

Vietcombank general director Nguyen Phuoc Thanh told Viet Nam News the bank fetched a positive pretax profit of VND1.3 trillion ($73.44 million) in the first quarter of this year. The bank also plans to open as many as 70 new transaction offices and 11 branches to take the total to about 415 by year's end and to increase its labour staff by 10 per cent over last year.

It was now planned to reduce the bank's bad debt ratio from 4.5 per cent to less than 3.5 per cent and pay a cash dividend of not less than 12 per cent efface value - the same as last year, he said.

Price Waterhouse Coopers audited Vietcombank 2008 financial report.

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