IFC seeks to unload US$350-million stake in Vietnam’s major bank

IFC seeks to unload US$350-million stake in Vietnam’s major bank

IFC`s 8% stake in VietinBank is now valued at nearly US$350 million.

The International Finance Corp., the private investment arm of the World Bank Group, is seeking a buyer for its entire stake in state-controlled Vietnam JS Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade, known as VietinBank, after seven years since its investment in the bank, Bloomberg reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

IFC is working with an adviser on the potential sale of its 8% stake, valued at nearly US$350 million, according to the sources.

The stock of VietinBank ended up 2.4% at VND27,450 ($1.16) per share on September 20, giving it a market value of about VND102.2 trillion ($4.35 billion), the third-largest lender in the country by market value, according to exchange data. Its shares have risen 11% this year through September 20.

The State Bank of Vietnam owns a 64.5% stake in VietinBank. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG) is the second-biggest shareholder with a 19.7% stake. MUFG acquired a 19.7% stake in VietinBank for $742 million, the largest investment by a foreign investor in a Vietnamese bank so far, according to Bloomberg data.

Foreign investors now hold a combined 30% stake in VietinBank, the maximum allowed by law. IFC’s exit could be an opportunity for other buyers.

Hanoi-based Bank for Development and Investment of Vietnam (BIDV), another state-owned lender, has been seeking for foreign strategic investors for years. South Korea’s Hana Financial Group is reportedly planning to expand its foothold in Vietnam through an investment in BIDV.

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