SACOMBANK: IS FOUNDER RETURNING AFTER 5

YEAR ABSENCE?

 

The news that several candidates are likely to participate in the restructuring of Sacombank, one of Vietnam’s largest joint stock commercial banks, has attracted increasing public interest in recent days, especially because of the presence of some heavyweight candidates. Investors are especially interested in local and foreign groups and individuals like New York-based investment bank Evercore Group, M&A consulting firm Redsun Capital Limited and Mr. Dang Van Thanh, president of Thanh Thanh Cong Group (TTC). This will be the first time in five years that Mr. Dang Van Thanh returns to the finance and banking sector, an industry where he had made his name, since the ‘Sacombank incident’ in 2012.

GREAT NAME ASSOCIATED WITH SACOMBANK

Over the last five years, following his transfer of power at a bank that he established and led, the market and financial investors have always been curious about the doings of Mr Dang Van Thanh and his family.

People usually associate Sacombank with Mr. Thanh, but in fact Thanh Thanh Cong -- now TTC Group -- was the place where he and his family cut their entrepreneurial teeth. TTC was established in 1979 to produce molasses. His family was directly responsible for all co-ordination, management, network expansion and development, and entering downstream industries like sugar and other by-products.

Mr. Dang Van Thanh - President of Thanh Thanh Cong Group

When he entered the finance and banking sector in 1991, all of TTC’s activities were headed first by his wife, Ms. Huynh Bich Ngoc, and later by his children.

The company has gradually expanded into real estate, energy, hospitality, and education.

After relinquishing control of Sacombank in 2012, Mr Thanh focused on developing the core businesses of TTC together with his family.

TTC has been growing steadily over the years in terms of both scale and profitability. With its principle of "Standard Management – Responsibility Control – Professional Operation,” the TTC brand is now recognised for its clean, green and modern investment activities and achieving international standards.

From banking and finance to sugarcane, real estate, education, etc., "For the community and local development" has always been TTC’s mantra.

Effective development must be associated with the objective of taking care of the lives of employees and the interests of shareholders, customers and partners. This is the only way to create a strong basis for an enterprise to achieve the goal of sustainable development.

But to return to 2012, it was a turbulent time for Mr. Dang Van Thanh and his family when his disassociation from Sacombank was linked to insinuations about the bank's management, especially outstanding loans to TTC Group companies. This negatively affected the reputations of Mr. Thanh and his family for a long time.

However, there has never been any evidence that Mr Thanh and his managers posed any risk or caused damage to Sacombank.

In April 2013 Sacombank executives reported that the loans were good and had been repaid on schedule at a time when there was a lot of public attention on the issue. At the time that Mr. Thanh transferred management, in May 2012, Sacombak’s operations were really strong with a large network and many good retail clients. Moreover, the bank’s assets consisted not only of its branches, offices and outlets around the country, but also the surplus accumulated through its operations.

And the return of the ‘founder’ of Sacombank?

Since he left Sacombank, Mr. Thanh and his family have focused all their energies and resources on developing TTC with the goal of diversifying and improving the quality of Vietnamese-branded products and services.

That his entrepreneurial passion remained undimmed since his Sacombank days was clear when he said: “We believe that those practical contributions are the most convincing explanation for our devoted efforts. To date, I and my family members all have clean legal records.”

Mr. Thanh’s decision to restructure Sacombank now has received support from shareholders and the goodwill of trusted international investors, particularly Evercore Group and Redsun Capital Limited.

His passion for banking seems to be drawing him back to the industry to devote his efforts to lead Sacombank to development.

In the process, besides preparing to meet the necessary conditions for restructuring Sacombank, the investors collaborating with Mr. Thanh understand that to succeed it has to be approved by the State Bank of Vietnam and the Government.

The investor group has sought permission from the central bank and the Government to access Sacombank’s books to assess its likely status after the merger.

They will then come up with detailed restructuring plans and specific mechanisms based on the recommendations of the State Bank and Government for the restructuring to be efficient.

Sacombank's financial capacity has been enhanced by increasing chartered capital by US$905.3 million to improve its operational performance.

The next step is to set up a debt settlement committee to resolve its bad debts and dispose of mortgaged assets, and use the available income to provision for bad debts. - PLO