State-run Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, the country's second-biggest bank by assets, plans to step up its privatization process this year and may sell overseas bonds to raise US$500 million.
The Hanoi-based unlisted lender, also known as BIDV, said on Thursday its "equitization", or partial privatization, was aimed at strengthening its financial capacity by raising its registered capital to between VND18 trillion and VND19 trillion ($867 million to $915 million).
It did not give any exact timing for a share issue.
BIDV's announcement that it wants to speed up its privatization bid, which has been on hold for several years, follows similar plans from major state-owned companies, such as top fuel distributor Petrolimex, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and the telecoms unit of Vietnam Electricity group.
BIDV said it would continue to work with government agencies on the issue of $500 million worth of bonds on international markets to increase its Tier-2 capital when "market conditions are favorable".
The lender also gave no timing for the issue.
In December Standard & Poor's Ratings and Moody's Investors Service downgraded BIDV and several other domestic banks and also cut Vietnam's credit ratings on concerns the banking sector has become more vulnerable to shocks.
BIDV projects credit growth this year of 19 percent, in line with a government target for the entire banking sector to keep Vietnam's annual lending below 20 percent in 2011 to control inflation, after lending jumped 27.7 percent last year.
State-owned Agribank, Vietnam's largest lender by assets, has also projected to keep its lending growth this year at between 11-12 percent, the central bank-run Banking Times newspaper reported. ($1=VND20,765).