Military Commercial Bank to sell stake to foreign investors

By Hung Le   July 15, 2019 | 12:43 am PT
Vietnam’s Military Commercial JSC (MBBank) is seeking to sell a 7.5 percent stake to one or more foreign investors this year.
A bank teller advising a customer at an MBBank branch in Hanoi. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

A bank teller advising a customer at an MBBank branch in Hanoi. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

MBBank will issue around 123 million new shares and use 38.9 million treasury shares for the stake sale, the bank’s CEO Luu Trung Thai told VnExpress Monday. 

"We will sell the stake to one or more foreign investors, and they will not necessarily be our strategic investors," Thai said.

The sale is part of MBBank’s move to raise its operating capital and expand its operations over the next three years, including investing in digital banking services. Proceeds from the 7.5 percent stake as well as future bond issues will be enough to fund the bank’s plans for this period, Thai said.

TheVietnamese government planned to sell part of its stake in MBBank, most likely to a single strategic partner, although the size of the stake and amount raised was yet to be finalised. The stake sale would likely attract interest from other Asian banks, possibly from Japan and South Korea, among others, and help MBBank meet new international capital requirements, The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The government owns 44 percent of MBBank, with a market cap of nearly $2 billion, through several military-linked companies, according to FactSet, a U.S. data provider. Domestic and foreign financial institutions own 11 percent, with the rest held by individual investors and entities such as mutual funds.

It’s current two biggest shareholders are military-owned telecom giant Viettel, holding 11.69 percent, and the State Capital Investment Corp (SCIC), holding 9.74 percent.

According to its latest financial statements, MBBank earned a post-tax profit of VND1.69 trillion ($73 million) in the first quarter of this year, up 20.7 percent year-on-year. Its total assets at the end of Q1 were worth VND372.28 trillion ($16.08 billion).

Vietnam has been trying to open up its banking sector to private expertise and technology by equitizing banks, divesting state shareholdings and listing commercial banks on the country’s stock exchanges.

The government is also inviting foreign investors to acquire under-performing banks that are being restructured, like the Ocean Bank, Vietnam Construction Bank, and Global Petro Commercial Bank (GPBank), Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said last month. 

The government would raise the foreign ownership caps of these banks to 100 percent, the deputy PM said.

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