WHOLESALE BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Vietnam

Vietnam's Maritime Bank still seeking right foreign partners

Maritime Bank will appoint a foreigner to the bank’s general director position this year.


This will make Maritime Bank the second joint stock commercial bank in Vietnam after Techcombank to have a foreign CEO. The move is designed to stimulate the bank’s strength.

On the other hand, Maritime Bank is rethinking  its plans its plans to lists its shares and join up with foreign strategic partners.

The apprehension was caused by the weak market situation that will keep it from selling at a good price.

Maritime Bank general director Tran Anh Tuan revealed that foreign institutions like Citibank, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo offered to become strategic partners last year.

“However, the current stock market situation is not good enough for us to sell at a strong price. If the price does not come up to our expectation, it will affect shareholder interest. Moreover, we are still considering what kind of strategic partners [we want] and what is the best time to sell and how much to sell,” Tuan announced during Maritime Bank’s annual shareholder meeting.

The listing plan of Maritime Bank, one of Vietnam’s top ten joint stock commercial banks, for 2012 is also under careful review. Tuan said that they are looking at the case of Sacombank, which is said to be under threat of a hostile takeover.

"The result of a possible takeover at Sacombank has not been clear. Our listing timeframe, thus, must be considered carefully,” said Tuan.

The State Bank has listed Maritime Bank among the country’s healthiest meaning it has the credit growth of 17 per cent this year. Last year, the bank’s credit grew 18 per cent against 2010. In 2011, Maritime Bank earned a pre-tax profit of $49.7 million and achieved 103.7 per cent of its yearly profit target, but this was down 21.7 per cent on-year.

The bank’s total assets stood at $5.47 million and its non-performing loan ratio was 2.27 per cent. The Vietnamese banking system’s average NPL ratio by the end of 2011 was more than 3 per cent.

With expectations of a more stable macroeconomic climate in 2012, Maritime Bank targets to earn $64.8 million in pre-tax profit, up 30.2 per cent on-year. Targeted total assets and chartered capital were about $6.57 billion and  $432 million, respectively.


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