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Bank stocks sale needs SBV nod

Update: March, 28/2015 - 09:46

HA NOI (VNS) — State-owned enterprises that want to sell stakes worth 5 per cent or more in credit institutions must get permission from the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).

The central bank issued a document on the issue late on Wednesday. The regulation follows Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's instructions earlier this month on capital divestment by State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the banking sector.

Under the new rule, any transfer of shares from an SOE to a credit institution investor that makes the investor a "big" shareholder (both direct and indirect holdings of 5 per cent or more of the total voting shares) must be follow the Law on Credit Institutions and Circular No. 06/2010/TT-NHNN. This also applies if the transferee is already a big stakeholder in the credit institution.

SOEs are responsible for collaborating with credit institutions on selecting suitable partners for the transfers, who must meet criteria set by the central bank. The transfers must approved by the central bank.

For share transfers not subject to the case above, the divestments of SOEs in credit institutions must comply with Decree 71/2013/ND-CP on investment of state capital in enterprises and financial management of State-owned enterprises, and other related laws.

To date, many SOEs hold large stakes in commercial banks. According to market insiders, this regulation may further slow state capital divestments in banks.

PetroVietnam owns 52 per cent of PVCombank's charter capital and a 20 per cent stake in Ocean Bank. Petrolimex holds a 40 per cent stake in PG Bank; Electricity of Vietnam owns 16 per cent of ABBank's total capital.

Meanwhile, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, often known as VNPT, holds 9 per cent of Maritime Bank's charter capital.

In October, PetroVietnam said it prepared plans to sell stakes in the two banks and expected to earn around VND5 trillion (US$233.6 million) from the deals. However, Ocean Bank unexpectedly fell into crisis late last year, with many senior management staff members detained.

Deputy Governor Nguyen Phuoc Thanh said if no investors were interested in buying Ocean Bank's stakes, the State Bank of Viet Nam would acquire it.

In February this year, SBV took over the loss-making Vietnam Construction Joint Stock Commercial Bank for free with the aim of helping the bank ensure its liquidity and strengthen its operations.

Meanwhile, PetroVietnam, VNPT and Vinacomin said they had yet to find potential buyers to transfer shares in those banks. — VNS

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