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Sacombank to allow foreign investors higher stakes

Update: March, 01/2014 - 08:56

HA NOI (VNS)— The total foreign investor stakes in Sacombank (STB)'s equity could be increased to 30 per cent, the maximum level stipulated by the current regulations for lending institutions.

The bank said this in a statement on Tuesday. It would petition the State Securities Commission and the relevant agencies for the adjustment, and would discuss the issue at an upcoming shareholder meeting.

The bank currently allows 10 per cent stake by normal foreign investors and reserves 20 per cent for strategic partners.

Sacombank chairman Pham Huu Phu told VnExpress online that the bank has been planning to sell the 20 per cent stake to strategic partners for two years, but hasn't found suitable investors yet. An adjustment was needed to improve the STB share liquidity on the market, he said.

The bank also planned to pay dividends for last year at a rate of 16 per cent. Half of the dividend has been paid to the shareholders in cash and the other half will be paid in shares after the resolutions of this year's shareholder meeting are made available.

It also expected to distribute 100 million STB shares and some capital surplus to existing shareholders at a rate of 10 per cent. This would be implemented at "a suitable time," it noted.

The bank posted about VND2.23 trillion (US$106.19 million) in after-tax profits last year, more than double that of the previous year. The outstanding loans grew at 14.8 per cent and bad debts fell by 18.4 per cent in 2013.

STB shares posted gain on Wednesday but lost on Thursday and yesterday on the HCM City Stock Exchange. STB was traded at VND21,300 ($1) per share yesterday.

The latest Government decree on foreign share holdings in domestic credit institutions was issued in January. It stipulated a general cap of 30 per cent and also specified a maximum ratio of 5 per cent for individual investors, 15 per cent for institutional investors and 20 per cent for strategic partners.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told Bloomberg in September last year that the Government could possibly allow foreign investors to hold up to 49 per cent stake in domestic banks in the near future. — VNS


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