RHB wants to start Indonesia bank ops by end-2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysian lender RHB Capital expects to start its operations in Indonesia by the end of 2012 should it manage to complete an acquisition of Bank Mestika Dharma in the third quarter of this year, said RHB’s top official today.

The RM1.1 billion deal, launched in 2009, has been delayed repeatedly due to uncertainties surrounding investment policies in Indonesia’s banking sector.

“We hope to obtain Indonesian central bank’s approval for the proposed acquisition in June and complete the acquisition in the third quarter,” RHB’s group managing director Kellee Kam told reporters after the bank’s AGM.

“If not, we have to tackle the issue again,” he added.

Several further prospective bank takeovers in Indonesia, where consolidation is expected among the many small lenders, were put on ice last year after the central bank mooted a rule to impose limits on ownership.

Lawmakers have told Reuters they could revive a cap on foreign ownership in a new banking law.

Indonesia’s response to foreign ownership will come into play again after Singapore’s DBS Group, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, launched a US$7.24 billion (RM22.2 billion) takeover offer bid for the nation’s fifth-largest lender Bank Danamon last week. — Reuters


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