* Share sales and listings pick up in Vietnam
* Private and public sector companies tapping markets
* Supported by growth prospects, government privatisations
* Vietnam's benchmark equity index up nearly 50 pct last yr (Recasts story, adds comments)
By Anshuman Daga
SINGAPORE, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Vingroup JSC, Vietnam's biggest property developer, has picked four foreign banks for a planned $1 billion listing of its residential property business, sources familiar with the matter said, which will mark a strong run of IPOs in the country.
Share listings are booming in Vietnam as the country speeds up its privatisation drive. Vietnam's benchmark stock index rose nearly 50 percent last year, making it Asia's strongest performer.
Vingroup has tapped Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley for the planned initial public offering of Vinhomes, which, if completed, could be one of the biggest ever equity offerings in Vietnam, the sources said.
The IPO would follow last year's listing of Warburg Pincus-backed Vincom Retail JSC, Vietnam's biggest shopping mall operator and also a unit of Vingroup, which raised roughly $700 million.
The participation of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Franklin Templeton in Vincom Retail's IPO has attracted other global investors to the country, bankers and lawyers said.
"Interest from big investors is mainly in the private sector. Private equity players are willing to make large investments in big companies," Duc Tran, partner at Allen & Overy Legal (Vietnam), said.
He said activity in the IPO market is mainly across the consumer, property and financial sectors.
In a presentation to investors this month, Vingroup said it was considering various strategic initiatives for its residential development business, which may include a capital markets offering and listing or other corporate transactions.
Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Vingroup did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request to comment.
The share sales come in the backdrop of Vietnam's strong economic growth. Vietnam's economy grew by 6.8 percent last year, propelled by strong domestic demand, record export earnings and the government's economic reforms. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jane Merriman)