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Banking and Finance

Whilst confidence in Vietnam’s local currency has improved since 2012, the tightening of the country’s monetary policy has given rise to intense liquidity pressure at various commercial banks. A large number of nonperforming loans (NPL’s) in the banking system is proving to be a major challenge.

Total foreign shareholding in a Vietnamese bank continues to be capped at 30% of the charter capital of such local bank, of which a foreign strategic investor can acquire up to 20% (subject to the Prime Minister’s prior approval).

Further guidance and clarity is required in relation to foreign bank participation in the Government’s proposed restructuring plan for local banks.

The single borrower limit of 15% of onshore banks’ charter capital has been an area of controversy, in addition to restrictions on foreign currency lending.

Cross-shareholdings and bank lending to related parties remain complex issues, unless local banks adopt strong corporate governance and risk management standards.

Local laws and regulations on foreign exchange controls require transparency and consistent interpretation. The continued absence of strong insolvency rules has adversely affected the development of highly structured derivatives products in Vietnam.

Recent Work

  • Acting for a major international credit institution in relation to the liquidation and dissolution of a finance leasing company.

  • Advising a lender in relation to the restructuring of a debt owed by a very large state-owned enterprise in Vietnam in the shipbuilding sector.

  • Reviewing and advising, from a Vietnam law perspective, on a suite of standard form finance documents for an international credit institution which has a locally incorporated subsidiary in Vietnam.

  • Acting for a major US-based frozen meat exporter and its subsidiary in Vietnam to assist in structuring outstanding debts owed to the parent company and its subsidiary in Vietnam.

  • Advising on the proposed private placement of US$200 million worth of shares in a holding company which had a portfolio of large-scale property developments in Vietnam.

  • Advising an offshore investment management company in relation to its secured mortgage over shares with respect to a loan facility agreement extended to a 100% foreign invested enterprise for the financing of a resort project.

  • Acting for two influential multinational corporations engaged in a joint venture in Vietnam, with investments of approximately US$80 million in relation to dual currency syndicated loan facilities provided by a group of foreign and local banks, led by a prominent Vietnamese bank and relating to the development of a bio-ethanol project.
  • Advising on the restructure of a manufacturing company involving the sale of assets to an interested third party to extinguish debts owed to secured domestic and foreign creditors, including providing advice on the viability of the proposed deal structure and the accompanying regulatory procedures that would need to be undertaken to complete the restructure.

  • Acting for one of Australia’s largest manufacturers and marketers of chemicals and ingredients in respect of Vietnam-related issues arising from a refinancing arrangement.

  • Advising a pioneering company in Vietnam, engaged in the handling, disposal and recycling of hazardous waste in southern Vietnam, including the provision of a formal legal opinion and advice on debt subordination relating to a private placement of new shares to certain shareholders.