Vietcombank 2010 gross profit rises 8 pct: CEO

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Vietcombank , Vietnam's second-largest partly private lender by assets, said gross profit rose 8 percent last year to more than VND5.4 trillion, beating its projection.

Total assets rose 20.3 percent to VND306.86 trillion, and loans jumped 24.9 percent to more than VND175 trillion, Chief Executive Nguyen Phuoc Thanh wrote in a report published on Tuesday by the Banking Times newspaper.

Last April, the Hanoi-based lender revised up its 2010 gross profit target to VND4.5 trillion.

Credit growth of the Hanoi-based lender, which follows VietinBank when ranked by assets, was slightly below the 27.7 percent lending growth of the entire banking sector last year, based on central bank data.

Shares of Vietcombank were trading down 1.2 percent at VND34,200 at 0251 GMT on Tuesday.

In August, ratings agency Fitch downgraded Vietcombank, citing a weakened balance sheet resulting from strong loan growth and "fragile" underlying loan quality. It also said the bank could be hit by exposure to Vinashin, a near-bankrupt state shipbuilding conglomerate with $4.4 billion in debt.

Projections for 2011

In December, Standard & Poor's followed suit after becoming the third of the three big ratings agencies to downgrade Vietnam's sovereign credit rating.

Vietcombank, or the Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, has projected its 2011 gross profit to rise at least 10 percent to VND6 trillion, Thanh wrote in the report published by the newspaper run by the central bank.

The lender aims for a 25 percent lending growth this year, or two percentage points above the banking sector's annual target, while keeping the total bad debts at a maximum 2.2 percent of loans.

Vietcombank also envisaged its total assets this year rising 15 percent, with a deposit growth of 25 percent, Thanh wrote.

Vietcombank handled around 20 percent of Vietnam's total export and import payments last year, which jumped 22.5 percent from 2009 to $155.63 billion.

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