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MANILA, Philippines – One of Southeast Asia’s leading banks and Malaysia’s second largest, CIMB Group, will likely buy a 60% stake of San Miguel Corporation’s Bank of Commerce by the end of the month, according to an unidentified source quoted in the Business Times of Malaysia.
At 60%, the Malaysian-based bank, which offers conventional and Islamic banking tools, would be acquiring the maximum foreign ownership stake in a local bank allowed under Philippine law.
The source, who is reported to be an insider in the ongoing negotiation, leaked details to media broadsheets on Wednesday, January 11, but Bloomberg reported talks of an acquisition as early as October.
CIMB Group’s main markets are Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia so the deal will expand its reach into the Philippines, further entrenching its hold in South East Asia.
Meanwhile Ramon Ang’s San Miguel Corporation, the Philippines biggest company by assets, has been increasing its presence in Malaysia. Its oil unit, Petron Corp, bought a 65% stake of Esso Malaysia Bhd, a petroleum manufacturing and marketing company in Peninsular Malaysia.
San Miguel has been diversifying into oil refining, infrastructure and power and there are talks that the deal could help San Miguel forge a stronger link with a partner in Malaysia.
It initially acquired a stake in Bank of Commerce in 2007, eventually increasing it to a controlling 58.16% stake through its property and retirement fund units.
The group of businessman Roberto Ongpin, one of the directors of San Miguel, has recently acquired a controlling stake in another commercial bank, Philippine Bank of Communications. – Rappler.com