BNP Baribas to raise stake to 20 pct in Vietnam bank OCB

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Vietnam's partly private lender OCB said on Monday it has secured central bank permission to sell another 5 percent of stake to BNP Paribas , raising the French lender's interest to the 20-percent ceiling of foreign ownership.

The sale would help enable Ho Chi Minh City-based unlisted OCB to increase its registered capital by nearly 25 percent to more than 3.4 trillion dong this year, OCB said in a statement, citing a central bank document following a government approval.

It gave no planned dates for the sale. BNP Paribas now owns 15 percent of the Vietnamese bank, also known as Phuong Dong Commercial Bank, a small lender in term of assets among Vietnam's 39 partly private banks.

The stake sale would let the French lender join the list of foreign banks with the maximum stake in a Vietnamese bank, which now has HSBC Holdings Plc, Maybank and Societe Generale in it.

Vietnam caps foreign ownership in a domestic bank at 30 percent, with a 15 percent limit for a strategic investor. A foreign strategic investor could own 20 percent subject to government approval.

OCB's total assets at the end of May rose 13.7 percent from last December to 22.38 trillion dong ($1.1 billion).

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