HDBank invites foreign shareholders before listing

Vietnam’s Housing Development Bank will offer 20 per cent of its shares to overseas investors, before getting listed in early 2018. 

Another leading Vietnamese bank is gearing up to go on the stock exchange next year

The pre-listing share sale is expected to raise $300 million for the bank, which counts Vietnam’s first female billionaire Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao as the major shareholder.

HDBank said that it would list on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange in early 2018, after completing the auction. Unlike other lenders in Vietnam, the bank does not seek a single strategic investor who normally holds 15 per cent of the shares.

Instead, it will court four overseas investors, offering less than 5 per cent of ownership to each.

This process is similar to what budget carrier Vietjet did last year when it sought foreign shareholders before listing. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao is currently the airline’s CEO, besides holding the majority of the shares at HDBank.

In particular, Thao’s Vietjet conducted an initial public sale according to international standards, helping the airline’s stocks to attract overseas investors and rise by 26 per cent following the listing. Vietjet is also paying generous dividends to shareholders this year, a testament to its positive business results.

Back to HDBank, it seems that the lender is on track to receive foreigners’ attention, as the overall banking system in Vietnam has been recovering well this year.

Thao previously told the media that HDBank is planning to expand to other provinces in Vietnam, particularly to rural areas where locals are still new to financial services. The bank has hired Goldman Sachs as the strategic adviser for this deal.

“We want to target the 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population that has never used any financial services before. HDBank aspires to become Vietnam’s top digital retail bank in the next five years,” said Thao.

The lender’s stock is traded on the over-the-counter market at VND29,000 ($1.2), with limited supply.

For the first nine months of 2017, HDBank reaped VND1.91 trillion ($84 million) in pre-tax profit, of which the parent bank earned VND1.7 trillion ($74.8 milion). This result, which is 1.5 times higher than the entire year of 2016, marked the bank’s highest achievement so far.

Assets under management reached VND174.5 trillion ($7.6 billion), a 26-per-cent increase from the same period last year. Bad debt takes up less than 1.14 per cent of all outstanding loans.

HDBank’s return-on-assets ratio is 1.18 per cent, while returns-on-equity stood at 18 per cent as of the third quarter of 2017.

 

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By Nam Phuong