Tough economic conditions are forcing local lender Maritime Bank to rethink its plans to list its shares and join up with foreign strategic partners.
Maritime Bank general director Tran Anh Tuan said last year had seen many foreign institutions like Citibank, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo offering to become strategic partners with the lender.
“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 told Maritime Bank’s annual shareholder meeting last week. The listing plan of Maritime Bank, one of Vietnam’s top ten joint stock commercial banks, for 2012 is also under careful review.
“After listing, many issues may arise. For example, the case of Sacombank [which is said to be under threat of a hostile takeover] is very dangerous. 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 VND1,037 billion ($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 VND114 billion ($5.47 million) and its non-performing loan (NPL) 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 VND1,350 billion ($64.8 million) in pre-tax profit, up 30.2 per cent on-year. Targeted total assets and chartered capital were about VND137 trillion ($6.57 billion) and VND9,000 billion ($432 million), respectively.
This year, Maritime Bank will appoint a foreigner to the bank’s general director position. This will see Maritime Bank become 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.