OCBC joins race for HK lender
HONG KONG: Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC) has joined other suitors in weighing a bid for Wing Hang Bank Ltd, one of four Hong Kong family-run lenders well positioned as a gateway between mainland China and the wider world.
OCBC is weighing an offer, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd, China's No. 4 bank, is also considering a bid for Wing Hang, which has a market value of about US$4.5 billion (RM14.4 billion), people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
China's economic clout and the growth of the offshore yuan fixed-income market has made Hong Kong's mid-sized banks attractive to foreign lenders looking for a foothold on the mainland and for mainland Chinese banks seeking to branch out beyond their home turf.
Other potential suitors include Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, Australia's No. 4 bank, and Singapore's third-biggest lender United Overseas Bank Ltd, sources said.
OCBC, Singapore's No. 2 lender by assets, is rated by analysts as one of Asia's strongest bank with Tier 1 capital ratio of 14.9 per cent.
But it has lagged domestic rival DBS Group Holdings Ltd in North Asia. DBS's Hong Kong unit, which was formed through an acquisition, is the fifth-biggest bank in the commercial city.
OCBC earned just five per cent of its first-half core profit from Greater China, while Singapore accounted for 61 per cent. Reuters