Asia Commercial Bank (ACB : HNX)

Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) is a Vietnam-based financial institution. It was established in 1993 by a group of university lecturers and was one of the first banks set up after the government’s 1990 liberalisation, which permitted private sector commercial banks.

Since listing in 2006 until 2012, ACB was widely thought to be the best private sector bank in Vietnam. Its management was considered to be forward looking, taking on a strategic partner Standard Chartered, which bought an 8.6% stake in ACB at an entry P/BV of 4.2x in 2005. At that time, ACB was only the second Vietnamese bank to take on a foreign strategic partner. Currently Standard Chartered owns 15.5% of ACB.

With an excellent retail banking franchise, ACB experienced fast growth and high profitability (i.e. ROE of 20-40%) and was the first private-sector joint stock commercial bank to approach the size of the big four state-owned banks in terms of assets.

In 2012, the bank faced several problems:

  1. Tightened regulations on the gold business, including gold-denominated loans (gold-denominated assets were 30% of ACB’s total assets, and;
  2. Scandal relating to ACB’s co-founder Nguyen Duc Kien, which resulted in the resignation of most of its key founders and famed CEO Ly Xuan Hai.

However, the bank restructured and refocused on its core SME and retail banking businesses. As of end-2013, ACB had total assets of US$7.9bn, a 3.3% share of the credit market and 4.2% of the deposit market.

The bank is ranked No. 8 among Vietnam’s 42 commercial banks by assets, No. 7 by market cap (~US$670m).

442 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St District 3
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
+84-8-9290999 (Phone)
+84-8-8399885 (Fax)
Company website:

ACB25Mar08 : Company Update, Saigon Securities Inc., 25 Mar 2008.

ACB13Jan09 : “Leading among private commercial banks”, Kim Eng Securities, 13 Jan 2009.

ACB9Sep09 : “Reasonably priced!”, Kim Eng Securities Initiate Coverage, 9 Sep 2009.

ACB18Nov09 : Company Update, HCMC Securities, 18 Nov 2009.

ACB17Nov10 : Equity Report, Thang Long Securities, 17 Nov 2010.

ACB15Aug11 : “Prudent, but less attractive”, Kim Eng Securities, 15 Aug 2011.

ACB30Mar12 : AGM Note, VietCapital Securities, 30 Mar 2012.

ACB21May12 : “Reasonably Priced”, Horizon Securities, 21 May 2012.

ACB28Aug12 : “Mr. Nguyễn Đức Kiên arrested”, Phu Hung Securities, 28 Aug 2012.

gold23Oct12 : “Update on gold position and impact on ACB and EIB”, Saigon Securities, 23 Oct 2012.

ACB29Oct12 : “Losses due to gold”, VietCapital Securities, 29 Oct 2012.

ACB13Dec12 : “One-off profit plunge”, Kim Eng Securities, 13 Dec 2012.

ACB20Feb13 : “Gold losses hit earnings”, Vietcapital Securities, 20 Feb 2013.

ACB26Jun14 : “Cleanup underway”, CIMB Bank, 26 Jun 2014.


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