Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Maybank may look at RHB if price is right

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYAN BANKING BHD [], which called off merger talks with RHB CAPITAL BHD [] in June, is still keeping its options open, for a possible acquisition, if the price is right.

Its president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said RHB was a very good bank and the combination between Maybank and RHB could create a significant amount of synergy, resulting in a significant holder value creation.

"We're always open," Bernama quoted him as saying on Wednesday, Aug 3 during a recent interview with Patrick Jenkins, Editor, Financial Times' View From The Top.

He was commenting on whether the largest banking group was still looking for an opportunity to acquire RHB if the price was revised downwards.

"I think there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to continue on their own. I think they have demonstrated their capability to grow on their own. For now, on our part, we have decided to stand down and not to proceed at this juncture," he said.

Abdul Wahid said at that time Maybank had not gone down to actually making a formal bid for it; but given the expectations created, it can be challenging to come up with a compelling proposition.

It was reported that the proposed merger talks were called off not too long after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank started to sell its 25 per cent stake to Abu Dhabi-based investment fund, Aabar Investments, at a relatively high price.

The fund paid RM10.80 per share for the stake which was higher than the fair value of around RM10.50 per share.

Turning to the financial results, Abdul Wahid said the financial year ended June 30, 2011, would be another record year.

Last year, he said the banking group reported a record profit after tax of RM3.8 billion and for the first three quarters, it had already touched an after-tax profit of RM3.3 billion.

"At the rate we're going, we reckon that this is going to be another record year as well. We're encouraged by the progress made across the board, both, in terms of asset growth, as well as, the bottom line. I think we're quite optimistic of the future," he said. - Bernama

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