June 4, 2018 / 6:30 AM / in 2 months

Vietnam's Techcombank tumbles in market debut as investors revalue large caps

HANOI/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Vietnam’s Techcombank tumbled 20 percent in its stock’s market debut on Monday, as investors reassessed valuations of large companies amid a broader sell-off of emerging-market securities.

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the headquarters of Techcombank in Hanoi, Vietnam April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

The Southeast Asian country’s biggest private-sector lender, which raised $922 million in one of Vietnam’s biggest equity deals, fell by the maximum permissible trading limit on debut day in a market up 1.4 percent.

Recent weakness in emerging markets has hit Vietnam hard, with the Vietnam Index shedding 13 percent since Techcombank launched its fundraising in mid-April, the steepest fall across Asia.

Fund managers and analysts have said investment risks were rising as blue-chips become expensive after a rally. The index is up nearly 60 percent over the last two years, with some large Vietnamese companies trading on aggregate at 17 times estimated profits for the next 12 months.

Techcombank was trading at 102,400 dong ($4.49), down from 128,000 dong at which it priced its equity-raising in April, weeks after residential property developer Vinhomes JSC raised $2.2 billion.

The fundraising has turned Vietnam into Southeast Asia’s biggest equity capital market this year for the first time, as investors are drawn by a fast-growing economy and the government’s privatisation and market-reform plans.

“Techcombank is cheap on a valuation basis against peers given its strong growth profile and clean balance sheet,” said Travis Lundy, senior analyst at Hong Kong-based Ballingal Investment Advisors, who publishes on independent research platform Smartkarma.

“It is well-placed to ride the growth in the mass wealthy and higher-end retail segments in a fast-growing economy,” he said.

Techcombank, formally known as Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank, is aiming to expand retail banking to capitalise on booming demand for financial services.

The 25-year-old bank is seeing strong growth in services such as credit cards, auto loans and bancassurance. Cornerstone investors included Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd, Fidelity Management & Research and domestic fund Dragon Capital.

Techcombank’s appeal stems from a boom in financial services while the economy expands at record rates.

Vietnam reported annual credit expansion of about 18 percent for the past two years, with banks posting strong profit growth.

“Techcombank accepts higher risk and the current market is supporting real estate so they profit accordingly,” said Hoang Huy, head of research at KIS Vietnam Securities.

“The real estate market is cyclical and is likely to grow further, so over the next year or two, higher risk on mortgages should not be a problem,” Huy said.

($1 = 22,790 dong)

Reporting by Mai Nguyen and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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