BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, Thailand

Maybank sets sights on Thai bank

New CEO says Thailand is obvious choice for M&A.

The new president and CEO of Malayan Banking Bhd, Abdul Farid Alias, is believed to be considering a US$1.2 billion stake in Bangkok-based TMB Bank Pcl that Dutch financial services company, ING Groep NV, wants to sell.

Farid said Thailand is an obvious choice for an acquisition since Maybank has no commercial presence in the country despite being the biggest broking house there.

"We are looking at finding ways, terms that are acceptable to us from value and size perspective," he said.

The race for ING's 31% stake in TMB will intensify once Thai authorities approve Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's US$5.6 billion bid for a majority stake in Bank of Ayudhya.

Thailand is key for Maybank, which needs to widen profits from overseas to 40% in 2015 from 30% under the current strategy while coping with Indonesia's requirements to cut back foreign ownership of its banks.

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