Financial

Hard-hit online lender CAN Capital makes executive changes

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Banks

BoE stress tests: all you need to know

The Bank of England has released the results of its latest round of its annual banking stress tests and its semi-annual financial stability report this morning. Used to measure the resilience of a bank’s balance sheet in adverse scenarios, the stress tests measured the impact of a severe slowdown in Chinese growth, a global recession […]

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Property

Zoopla wins back customers from online property rival

Zoopla chief executive Alex Chesterman has branded rival OnTheMarket “a failed experiment”, and said that his property site was winning back customers at a record rate. OnTheMarket was set up last year, aiming to compete with Zoopla and Rightmove, the UK’s two biggest property portals. It allowed estate agents to list their properties more cheaply […]

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Currencies

Asia markets tentative ahead of Opec meeting

Wednesday 2.30am GMT Overview Markets across Asia were treading cautiously on Wednesday, following mild overnight gains for Wall Street, a weakening of the US dollar and as investors turned their attention to a meeting between Opec members later today. What to watch Oil prices are in focus ahead of Wednesday’s Opec meeting in Vienna. The […]

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Banks, Financial

RBS emerges as biggest failure in tough UK bank stress tests

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Categorized | Property

VinaCapital to sell Hanoi Metropole stake


Posted on November 28, 2012

A stake in the Hanoi Metropole, Vietnam’s best-known hotel, is being put up for sale by fund manager VinaCapital as it tries to sell premium assets after the collapse of the Communist country’s property market

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VinaCapital’s London-traded Vietnam Opportunity fund has appointed Jones Lang LaSalle, the property agents, to market its 50 per cent stake in the 365-room, French colonial-era hotel, said David Dropsey, VinaCapital’s investor relations manager.

    The fund manager has told investors that its stake in the Metropole was worth $58.7m at book value.

    Real estate agents said that it would not be easy to sell the stake for a significant premium over that price given the distressed nature of the Vietnamese economy. The other 50 per cent of the hotel is owned by the Hanoi government, which exercises full control over the business.

    VinaCapital is one of several boutique fund managers that raised billions of dollars from international investors when Vietnam was one of hottest emerging markets, before 2008.

    As with its main rivals Dragon Capital and Indochina Capital, VinaCapital’s internationally listed funds have tumbled in value as the Vietnamese economy has hit the buffers, weighed down by inflation crises, rising bad debts and the bursting of the property and stock market bubbles.

    With many Vietnam-focused funds persistently trading at big discounts to their reported net asset values, fund managers are under pressure from shareholders to make disposals.

    Investors who have looked at the Metropole, where Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene all stayed, said that it was an attractive trophy asset, but they would think twice about paying a big premium for VinaCapital’s stake because of the extent of the Hanoi government’s control.

    The Metropole stake is the second-biggest investment held by the Vietnam Opportunity fund, which has a market capitalisation of about $550m.

    This month VinaLand, another London-listed fund managed by VinaCapital, passed a shareholder continuation vote after vowing to make no new investments and return all surplus cash to investors over the next three years.

    Some international investors have been looking to pick up distressed property assets at bargain prices.

    But Marc Townsend, who heads the Vietnam office of property agent CB Richard Ellis, said many foreign investors remained uncomfortable with the complex ownership structures and legal uncertainties in Vietnam.

    “People come every week to look at these assets, but when they peel back the skin, they don’t get quite the ownership structure or control that you want,” he said. “So a lot of these properties will never be acquired by Singaporean funds or Japanese investment trusts.”