Friday, July 1, 2011

Citi takes stake in Vietnamese brokerage

BANGKOK, July 12011

BANGKOK, July 1 (Reuters) - Citigroup has acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Vietnamese securities firm Horizon Securities Corporation for an undisclosed sum to tap into the country's economic growth, it said on Friday.

"This investment will help us become a leader in the secondary market and allow us to increase our market share of institutional investor equity flows as the Vietnamese market resumes strong growth and depth of liquidity," Citi's Head of Markets in Asia Pacific, Rodrigo Zorilla, said in a statement.

The government is targeting annual economic growth of 7-7.5 percent between 2011-2015 although it has cut its target for this year to 6 percent.

Only a few foreign firms are present in its financial markets, others put off by an economy that has struggled recently and is plagued by corruption and red tape

Vietnam allows foreign companies to own a maximum 49 percent stake in domestic brokerages.

Citi said it has helped Vietnamese companies raise more than $2.8 billion from domestic and global capital markets.

Horizon Securities is part of privately owned Horizon Capital Group whose founder, Kham Doan, is a former Wall Street banker, according to the firm's website. (Reporting by Frederik Richter; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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