VIB likely to increase its foreign ownership limit to 30 per cent

November 17, 2022 | 08:30
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Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB) has announced the final registration date to finalise the list of shareholders to collect written opinions, including the content of adjusting the foreign ownership limit (FOL).
VIB likely to increase its foreign ownership limit to 30 per cent

According to VIB's leaders, if the annual general shareholders' meeting (AGM) approves the content, the FOL can be adjusted by up to 30 per cent.

The proposal also contains the content allowing the Board of Directors (BOD) to decide the details of any work related to the maximum percentage of shares owned by foreign investors, which must be less than or equal to 30 per cent of VIB's charter capital. The list of shareholders will be closed on November.

As one of the top retail banks in Vietnam, with the highest retail ratio of over 90 per cent in the industry, VIB is serving more than four million individual customers and maintaining a large and diversified structure of 20,000 shareholders. Among them, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is the largest foreign shareholder, holding about 20 per cent of the bank since 2010. CBA is one of the largest banks in the world, with a market capitalisation of $122 billion. CBA is also rated as one of the safest and strongest banks, with a basic credit rating of A2 by Moody's.

Over the past 12 years, CBA has made an important contribution to transforming VIB into a well-known brand with outstanding operations in Vietnam in terms of quality and scale. This foreign shareholder has joined forces with VIB's leadership team to build an operating platform, a corporate governance model, and a tight risk appetite.

The two sides have also strengthened VIB’s digital and retail banking capabilities. VIB has been operating for 26 years and has worked alongside CBA for 12 of those years. The bank not only places emphasis on sustainability and transparency, but also sets new international standards as major strategic goals for the development of the bank. As a result, VIB is one of the first banks in Vietnam to successfully adopt Basel II, Basel III, IFRS, and other international standards in its operation.

Besides CBA, VIB is also known for its high openness and effective cooperation with international partners such as IFC, ADB, Master Card, Visa Card, Prudential, and Moody's. The coordination between VIB and CBA over the past decade is a rare example of successful cooperation between a domestic bank in the Vietnamese market and a leading large bank in the world.

Raising the FOL from 20.5 per cent to 30 per cent will bring more opportunities for VIB, foreign investors, and VIB's shareholders. With this decision, VIB can increase global cooperation, gain knowledge, and adopt governance standards and business models from professional financial institutions and investment funds around the globe.

The move will strengthen VIB's position in Vietnam in terms of both scale and quality. Meanwhile, foreign investors have been expecting the move for nearly a decade now. Many professional investors are keen on the financial sector in Vietnam, which has a population of 100 million people and one of the highest GDP growth rates in Asia.

These investors are seeking opportunities for long-term cooperation with VIB. This news also brings expectations among VIB shareholders, as VIB is known for its "cautious and strict" approach to choosing strategic partners, especially professional foreign investors who have to bring great value to the future development of the bank.

The proposal to raise its FOL comes after VIB has posted positive business results for several years in a row. At the end of the first 10 months of 2022, VIB achieved a pre-tax profit of $351.5 million, up 44 per cent compared to 2021, with return on equity reaching 30 per cent for three consecutive years.

The bank forecasts to achieve a pre-tax profit of VND10.5 trillion ($423.6 million) in 2022, which will likely exceed the plan assigned by the GMS. This result can be even higher if VIB earns some additional profits from some cooperation agreements that are likely to be completed in 2022.

VIB has the highest retail lending ratio in Vietnam, accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the credit portfolio. VIB channels all of its resources into the core business activities in which the bank is leading the market, including mortgage, auto loans, life insurance, and credit cards, as well as other business segments that can record breakthrough growth for years like digital bank MyVIB and iDepo deposit.

VIB continues to affirm its leading position in both scale and quality in the market. At the same time, the bank also pays attention to risk management to ensure and healthy, transparent coefficients.

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By Thanh Van

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