January 5, 2018 / 9:09 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Vietnam's HDBank trades strong on market debut

(Adds closing price, analysts’ comments)

HANOI, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Shares of Vietnam’s HDBank closed higher after a strong market debut on Friday, surging as much as 24 percent in early trade, following a $300 million initial public offering (IPO).

More than 32.2 million shares of the retail bank were traded and closed at 39,600 dong ($1.74) a share on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, Thomson Reuters Eikon data showed. That compared with its Dec. 22 IPO price of 32,000 dong.

The exchange allows a stock to trade within 20 percent of its reference price on its debut, and within 7 percent thereafter. HDBank earlier set a reference price of 33,000 dong for its first trading day, slightly above the IPO price.

Analysts said HDBank’s pricing was higher than some major listed peer lenders that have shown better performance.

“In comparison to listed (bank) shares, HDBank’s price is high because its size and performance are still modest compared to top listed banks,” said Do Bao Ngoc, a senior analyst at MB Securities in Hanoi.

Nguyen The Minh, a deputy research director at Saigon Securities Incorp, said there were positive catalysts for HDBank shares to continue rising.

“Investors have positive expectation in the future of the banking sector of Vietnam and in the ecosystem of companies run by Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao,” Minh said, referring to the bank’s vice chairwoman, a billionaire who is also the founder and chairwoman of Vietnam’s largest private airline, Vietjet Aviation JSC.

HDBank, formally Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank, emerged from the IPO with a valuation of around 32.4 trillion dong ($1.43 billion).

Those bought shares in the IPO included over 76 foreign investors such as Japan’s Credit Saison Co Ltd, Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG and JPMorgan Vietnam Opportunities Fund.

On Tuesday, HDBank said it expected 2017 pretax profit of 2.4 trillion dong. ($1 = 22,709 dong) (Reporting by Mi Nguyen; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Gopakumar Warrier)

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