VietinBank, Vietnam’s largest partly private lender by assets, plans to raise $2 billion this year by selling bonds overseas, a state-run news website said on Tuesday.
The Hanoi-based lender will sell the bonds in several tranches, the first of which will be a five-year bond to raise $500 million, the NDHMoney web site (ndhmoney.vn) quoted VietinBank Chair Pham Huy Hung as saying.
VietinBank, or Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade, is in negotiations to sell stakes in the firm and aims to finish the sale to a strategic partner by the end of the third quarter, Hung was quoted as saying.
VietinBank aimed to sell shares to the strategic partner at around 30,000 dong (1.44) each, Hung said, well above the current price.
Its shares closed down 0.4 percent at 25,100 dong each on Tuesday, as shareholders discussed the bank’s performance and its targets including profit, registered capital and the total assets for 2012 at a general meeting in Hanoi.
VietinBank has nearly halved its forecast for gross profit growth in 2012 to 11 percent, according to a draft bank document, after the central bank set limits on credit growth.
VietinBank has received government approval to issue bonds overseas to raise $500 million, with HSBC and Barclays as advisors.
A VietinBank bond issue would test the appetite of foreign investors for Vietnamese debt, which has been weak since the late 2010 default by state-owned Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, or Vinashin, on a $600 million syndicated loan.
Market players have questioned whether an international bond of that size for a Vietnamese bank was overly ambitious given global economic conditions, Thomson Reuters’ IFR reported.
The Ministry of Finance said it has appointed an expert group to seek to raise Vietnam’s credit ratings after three rating agencies, namely Moody’s, Fitch and Standards and Poor’s, downgraded Vietnam last year, potentially raising the cost of capital for its companies.
VietinBank has said it planned to sell a 15 percent stake to Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia in the second half of 2011, but it has not managed to finalise the deal since.