Two major shareholders of Sacombank (STB), the fourth leading listed commercial lender, have continued to sell shares without making mandatory disclosures only five days after they were slapped with penalties by the State Securities Commission for the similar violations.
The HCM City Stock Exchange on Tuesday announced that Sai Gon-Asia Financial Investment Joint Stock Co and individual shareholder Tran Phat Minh had each sold about 900,000 STB shares without making disclosures as regulated.
The divestments reduced their holdings in STB to below 5 per cent each, the regulated threshold for being considered a “major shareholder”. The alleged “underground” sales by major shareholders are just the latest twist in the ongoing saga of the Sacombank-Eximbank acquisation deal.
The two shareholders, together with Eximbank (EIB) subsidiary Sai Gon Exim Investment Joint Stock, were part of an Eximbank alliance formed to acquire a controlling interest at Sacombank. Late last week, the State Securities Commission fined all three shareholders VND60 million (US$2,860) each for not submitting required reports upon becoming major shareholders in Sacombank.
The penalty took the market by surprise due to its tardiness. It was only just disclosed even though the power transfer at Sacombank was completed back on May 26, when STB shareholders elected eight additional members to the bank’s board, including two who came from Eximbank and two from Phuong Nam (Southern) Bank.
The investors had collected STB shares between January and March, buying up a total volume of nearly 65.6 million shares. Minh became the second leading individual shareholder, after chair Dang Van Thanh and his son, who hold a combined 7.7 per cent.
According to the newspaper Dau tu Chung khoan (Securities Investment), the three shareholders said their violations of disclosure rules were due to their miscalculation of the number of outstanding STB shares on the market. STB had bought back 100 million of its shares in January 3, reducing its outstanding shares from over 1 billion shares to about 974 million.
Without considering this change, all three shareholders had assumed their acquisitions which left them at below the 5-per-cent threshold and therefore under no obligation to disclose.