Maybank’s exposure to Vinashin still unclear

PETALING JAYA: It is unclear at this point how Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), which participated in state-owned Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group's (Vinashin) US$600mil eight-year funding facility three years ago, would be affected by the latter's failure to make the first loan repayment, which became due on Dec 20.

The shipbuilder also failed to meet the extended deadline of Dec 23 for US$60mil in principal payment to foreign creditors.

Analysts told StarBiz that there was no way of knowing at this point how exposed Maybank was to Vinashin until the bank decided to make known its exposure to the funding facility.

“There may not even be any impact as depending on the structure of the facility, the bank may not even hold a single cent due to trading,” a local investment bank's research head pointed out.

An analyst with an independent brokerage said the bank could just have taken a fee to be an arranger and might not even be exposed.

“In any case, the bank's management will be the only ones who can answer on the risks,” she said.

According to industry sources, Maybank could have been a participant along with 25 other banks in the deal instead of as an arranger as previous reports indicated.

A June 11, 2007 issue of Jane's Transport Finance showed that Maybank, together with Credit Suisse's Singapore-based operations and Dublin-based Depfa Bank plc, were the mandated arrangers of the deal which was oversubscribed by more than US$200mil.

The deal offered a margin of 150basis points over the London interbank offered rate with an average life of 5.75 years and a grace period of 11 years and three months.

Maybank officials were unavailable for comment on the matter while an official said the bank usually did not comment on clients' affairs.

Vietnam Daily News said in an Oct 13 report that among the major creditors were Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered Bank, Depfa Bank, Elliot VIN and the National Bank of Kuwait.

The World Bank's Deepak Mishra and Viet Tuan Dinh wrote in a report released earlier in the month that Vinashin's near-bankruptcy could lead to an increase in the non-performing loan ratios at some Vietnamese banks.

“The asset quality of bank portfolios remains an ongoing concern given the unusually high credit growth of the past years and developing, but relatively weak, risk management capacity in the banking sector,” Deepak Mishra and Viet Tuan Dinh of the World Bank said.

Moody's Investors Service said on Nov 29 that the shipbuilder might account for as much as 3% of some local banks' loan portfolios.

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