Vietinbank cuts 2012 gross profit forecast to 11 pct

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VietinBank, Vietnam's largest partly private lender by assets, has nearly halved its forecast for gross profit growth in 2012 to 11 percent, according to a draft bank document, after the central bank set limits on credit growth.

The Hanoi-based bank also said that it will again pursue plans to sell a 15 percent stake to strategic foreign investors as it aims to raise its registered capital by 52 percent to 30.85 trillion dong ($1.48 billion).

The statements were contained in draft documents seen by Reuters that are subject to shareholder approval at a general meeting due on Feb. 28.

The plan to raise registered capital did not name any foreign banks, but the Vietnamese lender, which is 10 percent owned by World Bank affiliate the International Finance Corp, has been in talks on a 15 percent share sale to Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia.

A central bank official has said the deal was not finalised by the end of 2011 due to pricing issues.

The 11 percent profit growth target, down from a 20 percent forecast in early January, would take gross profit in 2012 to VND9 trillion ($432.5 million). The bank posted a 76 percent surge in gross profit in 2011, far higher than expected.

VietinBank, the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade, said its 2012 profit growth projection was based on annual credit growth of 17 percent, down from 25 percent growth in 2011.

Vietnam's central bank this month set 2012 credit growth targets for individual domestic banks of between zero and 17 percent. It also put a cap on some types of loans, including real estate, as it aims to balance concerns over tight credit conditions with efforts to curb inflationary pressures.

VietinBank expected total assets to rise 17 percent this year to VND540 trillion, while bad debts would be kept below 3 percent of loans, Chairman Pham Huy Hung said.

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