KUALA LUMPUR – AMMB Holdings Bhd, part of the AmBank Group, has presently ruled out potential mergers and acquisitions, according to the group’s chief executive officer, Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir.
He clarified the matter when he was asked to comment about the news that Grab Holdings Inc is looking to acquire stakes in the bank during the group’s virtual press conference following the announcement of AmBank’s financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022.
He explained that Grab is working together with Kuok Brothers to create a digital bank, referring to the consortium that was formed by both parties collaborating and being awarded a digital licence by Bank Negara Malaysia in April.
“So the question is (why) would they wish to invest in a physical bank? This remains a conjecture and nothing is currently on the table. So, I do not see this happening for the time being,” he added.
There were previously reports that Grab was looking towards the acquisition of AmBank, with a high chance that the sellers of the stake are AmBank’s two largest shareholders.
The current largest shareholders are ANZ or Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and Tan Sri Azman Hashim with each owning 21.68% stake and 11.83% respectively, the latter being equity interest.
Additionally, Sulaiman further states that there had been no discussions about the possibility of a merger between AmBank and RHB Bank Bhd.
He emphasised that the process of bank acquisitions, particularly the physical channels, would be a costly endeavour because it involves consolidating entities.
He added that this is not the current trend for the banking industry as the objective now is to expand the customer base with transitioning into a digitalisation being the more viable method to achieve the goal.
“At this time, we are not discussing with any banks about any mergers or acquisitions,” he continued.
Also present during the event was Jamie Ling, AmBank Group’s chief financial officer.
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