Vietnam bank acquires French finance company in historic merger

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 HDBank (L) and SGVF representatives at the acquisition meeting

Ho Chi Minh City Development Bank (HDBank) said the State Bank of Vietnam has approved its acquisition of French firm Société Générale Viet Finance (SGVF), one of the largest foreign finance companies in Vietnam.

Accordingly, SGVF will become a subsidiary of HDBank. The deal's total worth has yet to be released.

It marks the first transaction in Vietnam in which a bank has acquired a credit institution.

It may pave the way for other Vietnamese institutions to make acquisitions in order to form financial and banking groups, which would reduce of the number of financial institutions, in line with the government's plan to restructure the country's commercial banking system, HDBank said in its announcement.

SGVF is a 100 percent French-owned finance firm formed by Société Générale in Vietnam. It was licensed by the central bank in 2007.

The firm now has around 1,100 employees, and a network in 42 cities and provinces throughout Vietnam.

It has provided personal finance services and offered installment loans to more than 125,000 individual customers through 300 partners and more than 800 service points located at motorcycle and electronics vendors throughout the country.

Le Thanh Trung, HDBank's deputy director, said his bank will "continue pursuant to the ambitious development of SGVF in the consumer finance market" and the company's relationship with its partners, customers and employees of SGVF will remain unchanged.

Société Générale is one of the largest financial services groups in Europe with more than 154,000 employees working in 76 nations, serving more than 32 million customers worldwide.

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