IFC Said to Seek Buyer for Stake in $4 Billion Vietnam Bank

(Bloomberg) -- The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. is seeking a buyer for its stake in Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry & Trade, the country’s third-largest lender by market value, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

IFC, which invested in the bank in 2011, is working with an adviser on the potential sale of its 8 percent stake, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Shares of VietinBank have risen 11 percent this year through Wednesday, giving it a market value of about 99.8 trillion dong ($4.3 billion).

Foreign buyers have announced at least $2.2 billion of investments in Vietnamese banks since the beginning of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The largest was in 2013, when Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. bought a 19.7 percent stake in VietinBank for $742 million, the data show.

U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus agreed in March to buy a stake in Techcombank for more than $370 million. In April, Techcombank raised $922 million in what was the country’s biggest-ever initial public offering at the time. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte has also shown interest in sector, pursuing a stake in Vietcombank in 2016.

A spokeswoman for IFC and VietinBank Chief Executive Officer Le Duc Tho declined to comment.

State Bank of Vietnam owns 64.5 percent of VietinBank, while MUFG is the second-biggest shareholder with its 19.7 percent stake, according to the Vietnamese lender’s website.

VietinBank shares rose 2.2 percent as of 2:22 p.m. local time, poised for the highest close since Aug. 30. The benchmark VN Index gained 0.8 percent.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.