Malaysia's CIMB in talks with San Miguel for bank stake

Posted at 10/06/11 7:09 PM

KUALA LUMPUR/MANILA - Malaysia's second-largest bank CIMB Group said on Thursday it was in early talks to acquire a stake in unlisted medium-sized Philippine lender Bank of Commerce from Philippine conglomerate San Miguel group.

San Miguel Corp.'s property arm, San Miguel Properties Inc., and the group's retirement fund hold a combined stake of at least 58% in Bank of Commerce.

"These discussions are currently at an early stage and further announcements will be made in the event of any material developments," CIMB said in a statement.

A source from Bank of Commerce said the San Miguel group was looking to partner with CIMB to gain better exposure in Southeast Asian markets.

Bank of Commerce has total assets of P90.7 billion ($2 billion) as of June 30, based on central bank data, with 122 branches nationwide.

San Miguel bought ExxonMobil's Malaysian assets for $610 million in August as the Philippine conglomerate pushes its aggressive expansion outside its home base.

Last week, CIMB acquired 70% of Thai broker SICCO Securities Pcl for $25 million from The Siam Industrial Credit Pcl.

The bank had also planned to acquire RHB, Malaysia's fifth-largest lender, in June but dropped out after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank sold its stake in RHB in a deal which analysts said had set a high valuation bar for any potential merger.