* BIDV to list on Ho Chi Minh Exchange on Jan. 24
* Listing valued at $2.5 bln, the biggest ever in Vietnam
* BIDV says hopes listing will pave way for foreign investors (Adds 2013 results, share sales in 2014)
HANOI, Jan 20 (Reuters) - BIDV will debut on the domestic stock exchange on Jan. 24, a senior executive said on Monday, as Vietnam’s second largest bank by assets seeks to attract foreign investors through the $2.5 billion listing.
Shares in state-controlled BIDV, or the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, will start at 18,700 dong (90 U.S. cents), Tran Phuong, a senior executive vice president, told reporters. The listing will be Vietnam’s most valuable so far.
The bank won approval last week to list on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.
“The listing will pave the way for BIDV to look for a strategic investor more effectively in 2014,” Phuong said, adding that U.S., European and Asian lenders had expressed interest in buying BIDV shares.
He declined to give details but said Morgan Stanley, which is advising BIDV, is expected to shortlist foreign investors soon.
Vietnam is currently grappling with the highest ratio of bad loans in its banking system in Southeast Asia.
To address the problem and raise interest in the banking sector, the government recently announced it would allow a foreign strategic investors to own 20 percent of domestic banks for late last month, up from 15 percent now.
The cap on foreign ownership in a domestic bank remains unchanged at 30 percent, the decree said.
BIDV increased gross profits last year by 21 percent year-on-year to 5.23 trillion dong ($248 million), thanks to steady credit growth, Phuong said.
Total assets last year rose 12 percent from 2012 to 55 trillion dong, as lending jumped 16.7 percent to 391 trillion dong, well above the annual credit growth rate for Vietnam’s banking sector that hit 12.51 percent in 2013.
BIDV’s capital adequacy ratio stood at around 10 percent last year, and bad debt stood at 2.3 percent of the total loans, Phuong added. ($1=21,070 dong) (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Martin Petty and Miral Fahmy)