October 11, 2018 / 9:06 AM / 10 months ago

CORRECTED (OFFICIAL) -Japan's MUFG is not seeking to raise stake in VietinBank to 50 pct - report

* MUFG owns 19.73 pct in VietinBank-data

* Vietnam caps foreign ownership at 30 pct (VTV corrects report to say MUFG is not planning to raise its stake in Vietinbank to 50 percent)

By Mai Nguyen

HANOI, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the largest of Japan’s three megabanks, is not seeking to raise its stake in VietinBank to 50 percent, state-run Vietnam Television (VTV) said.

In a voiced over translation on Oct 10, VTV had quoted MUFG Deputy President Eiichi Yoshikawa as saying the bank wanted to increase ownership in VietinBank to 50 percent.

MUFG owns 19.73 percent of the Vietnamese lender, according to Refinitiv data.

VTV ran a headline on Oct 12 saying “MUFG Bank does not have a plan to increase its stake in VietinBank to 50 percent of the registered capital of this bank”.

MUFG said in a statement that Yoshikawa had “reiterated the bank’s commitment to Vietnam with its current stake.”

Yoshikawa had been speaking at a meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and senior Vietnamese government officials including the governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), which owns 64.46 percent of VietinBank.

“The government welcomes investors joining Vietnamese banks, especially foreign investors joining weak banks... and can consider letting foreign investors own 100 percent of those banks,” VTV quoted SBV Governor Le Minh Hung as saying.

The government has said foreign investors could own up to 100 percent of weak Vietnamese banks, as part of efforts to reform a sector once weighed down by bad debts.

VietinBank, the country’s fourth-biggest listed bank by market capitalisation, is not a weak bank by the government’s definition. But Governor Le Minh Hung said increasing capital in VietinBank is necessary.

“Increasing capital in VietinBank is essential to ensure the bank’s financial capacity,” Hung was quoted as saying. (Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sunil Nair)

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