REGULATORS have given the green light for CIMB Bank’s planned takeover of Bank of Commerce in line with the Malaysian giant’s Southeast Asian expansion ambition.
The merger, first announced last May, will be CIMB’s first venture into the country’s healthy Philippine territory and give the Malaysian firm a substantial foothold, given the local bank’s 122-branch network and close to P100 billion in assets.
CIMB expects to complete its takeover of the bank by January next year.
“We are pleased to announce that the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)… approved the proposed acquisition,” CIMB Group Holdings Berhad said in a disclosure. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the proposed acquisition is expected to be completed by January 2013.”
San Miguel Corp. and affiliates said they had agreed to sell up to 65 million shares or a 60-percent stake in BOC. The SMC Retirement Plan, however, will remain the biggest minority shareholder of the bank with a 27-percent interest.
“As an Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] universal bank, the expansion to the Philippines is a natural move. I believe we are entering this market at the right time, with the right deal and right partner,” CIMB Group CEO Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak said earlier.
CIMB said it saw opportunities on the wholesale side, with immediate potential of delivering banking and capital markets solutions to corporations. The consumer segment, meanwhile, would likely take more time and investment.
With the acquisition, CIMB will have a Southeast Asian network of 1,239 full branches, reaffirming the group’s credential of having the largest footprint in the region. Paolo G. Montecillo