Military Bank plans Vietnam's biggest listing this year

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Military Commercial Joint-Stock Bank is moving ahead with Vietnam's biggest listing this year, as it seeks to boost liquidity even after the stock market posted the second-worst performance in Southeast Asia.

The Hanoi-based lender may start trading 730 million shares on the bourse on Nov. 1 with an initial price of VND13,000 each, said Quach Manh Hao, deputy chief executive officer at Thang Long Securities Joint-Stock Co., the brokerage that's managing the listing. Military Bank will start marketing the shares to investors on Oct. 27, he added.

"Military Bank is big and good enough to attract investors to have a successful listing, even in these market conditions," said Attila Vajda, Ho Chi Minh City-based head of institutional clients at ACB Securities Co. "Vietnamese banks will continuously need to raise capital in the following years in order to stay healthy and to be able to finance their growth."

Military Bank in April received the exchange's initial approval to list the shares on the Ho Chi Minh City bourse. It traded at as high as VND13,500 each in the over-the- counter market, according to SanOTC, which tracks OTC prices in Vietnam. Foreign investors who want to purchase banking stocks in the over-the-counter market will have to seek approval from the central bank, according to ACB Securities.

Boosting image

"The listing is part of its plan and will create liquidity for the stock, encouraging transparency and boosting the bank's image," Hao said. Military Bank is still waiting for final approval from the bourse for the listing, Hao said.

Vietnam's benchmark VN Index has tumbled 14 percent this year, the most after Singapore among Southeast Asian stock markets tracked by Bloomberg. The measure has fallen more than 20 percent from its Feb. 9 peak this year, a decline investors consider a bear market, following government efforts to contain the region's fastest inflation.

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