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Sacombank may have to change hands   2012-02-25 - VietNamNet

The development of Sacombank has been inherent in the name of Dang Van Thanh and his family. After making great efforts to build up Sacombank and turn it into one of the most powerful banks in Vietnam, now Thanh has to struggle hard against the threat of a group of shareholders to snatch the ownership out of Thanh’s hand.

20 years spent to become leading banker

Established on December 21, 1991, Sacombank was known as a small bank which began operating in the difficult period of the country with the initial modest chartered capital of 3 billion dong and mostly operated in the suburbs of HCM City.

Meanwhile, at present, with the total assets of 160 trillion dong, more than 10,000 officers, 400 branches and transaction offices in Indochina, one million clients and 80 percent of transaction points owned by the bank itself, Sacombank is now one of the leading banks in Vietnam.

Sacombank’s President Dang Van Thanh is well known in the business circle. He once very succeeded as the distributor of sugar in the south with Thanh Thanh Cong Company. The prosperous business of the company then put Thanh’s family into the list of the richest families in Vietnam.

The company is now being managed by Thanh’s wife, while Thanh shifted to a new business field – finance and banking. Sacombank, on his watch, has become one of the leading banks in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the bank has also reached out to the region when setting up branches in Laos and Cambodia and planning to turn the branches into subsidiaries.

In May 2008, Sacombank approved the strategy to become the leading private finance group in Vietnam.

“Big guys” eyeing Sacombank

In early July 2011, rumor spread out that Sacombank would be swallowed by a group of shareholders. Finance officers then whispered into each other’s ears that a “big guy” was eyeing Sacombank and began collecting Sacombank’s shares quietly.

In the period from June 27 to July 8, 2011, 26.34 million Sacombank’s shares were traded (4 million shares per trading session) at the floor prices. At the trading session on July 8, 2011, there was the offer to purchase four million Sacombank’s shares, but there was no seller.

In fact, the collection of Sacombank’s shares began in April 2010 already, when Sacombank’s share price dropped to 22,000 dong. The more the price went down, the more shares the collectors purchased. The share price then dropped to the 52-week low of 11,600 dong, and hovered around 12,000 dong per share the next days.

In July 2011, some sources said that the hidden group of investors, who tried to collect shares, might had obtained 17-18 percent of Sacombank’s shares already.

Meanwhile, a series of big shareholders of Sacombank announced the sale of Sacombank’s shares. Dragon Capital, a foreign strategic shareholder, sold all the 61 million shares it had (6.66 percent). Chang Hen Jui, the husband of Huynh Que Ha, first Deputy President of Sacombank, bought 30.672 million shares from Dragon Capital.

Several months later, on January 6, 2012, REE sold 42 million Sacombank’s shares (3.92 percent). On January 9, 2012, ANZ, the biggest foreign shareholder of Sacombank sold 103 million Sacombank’s shares, or 9.61 percent of total stakes. The buyer was Eximbank, which now reportedly holds 9.73 percent of Sacombank’s stakes.

The moves of selling Sacombank’s shares were foreseeable, even though Thanh said before that both REE and Dragon Capital did not intent to withdraw capital from Sacombank at that moment.

On the rumor, Thanh stated in July 2011 that if an individual collected shares to be a member of the board of directors, he would only have one ballot. However, though talking tough, Thanh had to act in self-confidence.

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