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August 26, 2008

Malaysia’s Maybank to resolve stalled BII deal by Sept

Malaysia's top lender Maybank hopes to resolve its stalled plan to gain control of Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) by September, Reuters quoted a top company official as saying Monday.

"We are still keen to proceed with this transaction and we are in discussions with the various parties to find a solution," Maybank chief executive Abdul Wahid Omar told reporters.

Maybank agreed in March to buy a 55.5 percent stake in BII from Singapore's Temasek Holdings and South Korea's Kookmin Bank in a $2.7 billion deal.

But Bank Negara Malaysia, the central bank, last month revoked its approval of the transaction, saying new Indonesian takeover rules, which require Maybank to cut down its stake in BII by 20 percent in two years, could lead to material losses for Maybank.

Indonesia could extend the timetable under its takeover rules for Maybank to refloat shares in BII, the chairman of the country's capital market regulator (Bapepam) said earlier this month.

But Wahid said the bank was neither renegotiating the price on the deal, nor has it submitted a new proposal to the central bank.

"I think we are all working within the context of the current share sale agreement. A lot of the discussions, both with Bapepam and Temasek are about finding a way how we can move forward," said Wahid.

"There is no issue of renegotiating the price," he added.

Wahid also said the bank welcomed the Malaysian central bank's accomodative interest rate policy, despite inflation surging to a 27-? year high of 8.5 percent in July.

The central bank has maintained its key overnight policy rate at 3.5 percent since April 2006.

"We all know that the inflation which we are experiencing now is very much cost-push. It's not quite demand-pull and therefore it's important that such an accomodative interest rate policy is being maintained so that it will not affect the growth of the economy," he said.

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