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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             19  July 2011

Maybank has eyes on Thailand

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Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) hopes to operate a bank in Thailand, said president/chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.

"As I said before, we are keen to go to Thailand. We do hope to be able to operate a bank (there). If the opportunity arises, Maybank would expand the banking operations in Thailand nationwide," he told Bernama in an interview here Monday.

However, he said, Maybank was not in a hurry to realise that aspiration.

"We do take an opportunistic approach. We are not in a hurry. We want to make sure we have adequate resources, both human and capital," he said.

Maybank, through its wholly-owned unit, Mayban IB Holdings Sdn Bhd, recently acquired Singapore's Kim Eng Holdings Ltd and has now become its majority shareholder with about 50.2 percent interest.

As Kim Eng and its units hold about 55.75 per cent of the paid-up shares in Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) Public Co Ltd (KEST), Mayban IB would be required to make an offer for all the issued shares in KEST.

It was announced recently that Maybank, through Mayban IB, intended to privatise Kim Eng.

The bank has also launched a tender offer for the remaining shares in Kim Eng at S$3.10 per share.

Abdul Wahid said Maybank would continue to focus on growing organically and it has numerous initiatives in order to grow its financial performance and to improve its market share.

On the aborted takeover of RHB, Abdul Wahid said: "We really focus on growing organically but at the same time as and when opportunities to look at mergers and acquisitions arise, we are open ... that's when the RHB opportunity comes. We thought that we could create value, if it's structured properly ... if it's valued at agreeable level."

He said the transaction announced at RM10.80 has created a certain expectations in terms of valuation.

"Maybank believes that valuation wouldn't have been value enhancing for its shareholders. The focus remains on building organically. If something comes up, we are always open," he said.

Abdul Wahid said consolidation would have to be commercially driven by market forces.

"If there are some mergers that will make sense at the right valuations ... it's just a matter of time," he said.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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