Public Bank gets Vietnam foreign-owned bank licence

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): Public Bank Bhd has received a 100% foreign-owned bank licence from the State Bank of Vietnam in conjunction with the Malaysian entity's acquisition of the remaining 50% stake in VID Public Bank (VPB).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, Public Bank said it was acquiring the stake from Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam for US$76.6 million (about RM310 million).

Public Bank said the acquisition would be completed next Friday (April 1).

Following the acquisition, Public Bank said VPB would become its 100%-owned subsidiary and would be renamed as Public Bank Vietnam Ltd (PBVN).

"Under the terms of the foreign-owned bank licence, PBVN has been granted a term of operations of 99 years," Public Bank said.

Public Bank founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow said in a statement the Vietnam bank licence would strengthen Public Bank's presence in the Indochina region.

Besides Vietnam, Public Bank also has operations in Cambodia and Laos.

"(In Vietnam) The 100% foreign-owned bank licence granted to Public Bank is a significant milestone in VPB's 24-year banking journey in Vietnam.

"Public Bank Vietnam will continue to focus on retail-banking business in order to serve a wider reach and spectrum of customers in Vietnam, especially SME lending, which is the engine of growth for the country," Teh said.

At Bursa Malaysia, Public Bank shares fell 24 sen or 1.3% to settle at RM18.54 for a market capitalisation of RM71.82 billion. The stock saw 976,600 shares traded.