CBA, UOB can raise stakes in Vietnam's banks: central bank

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Singapore's United Overseas Bank (UOB) can raise their respective stakes in two Vietnamese banks to the 20 percent ceiling for foreign ownership, Vietnam's central bank said on Monday.

Hanoi-based Vietnam International Bank (VIB) plans to increase its registered capital by 6.25 percent to 4.25 trillion dong ($206.3 million), the central bank said, adding that CBA could raise its its stake in VIB to 20 percent.

Similar approval has been granted to Ho Chi Minh City-based Phuong Nam Bank, in which UOB's stake can be lifted to the ceiling as the Vietnamese lender plans to boost its registered capital to 3.21 trillion dong from 3.05 trillion dong, the statement said.

It gave no date nor value for the deals.

CBA and UOB own 15 percent in the respective Vietnamese banks, the ceiling for a strategic foreign investor unless specific approval is given by the authorities for it to be raised to 20 percent.

HSBC Holdings Plc, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and Societe Generale all own 20 percent of a Vietnamese bank

Earlier this month the central bank allowed partly private lender OCB to sell another 5 percent stake to BNP Paribas, raising the French lender's interest to the 20 percent ceiling.

The government has cut the annual credit growth target to below 20 percent this year to help curb double-digit inflation. The initial target was 23 percent, after a rise of 27.65 percent in 2010.

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