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BRANCH BANKING | Staff Reporter, Thailand
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OCBC and CIMB show interest in Bank of Ayudhya

The jockeying for a share in Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya PCL now involves Singapore's largest bank and one of Malaysia's largest universal banks.

Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation and Malaysia's CIMB Group are considering bidding for General Electric's US$1.6 billion stake in Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya, said industry sources.

OCBC and CIMB have signed non-disclosure agreements that allow them to examine in closer detail the accounts of Bank of Ayudhya, Thailand's fifth-largest lender. GE's finance unit owns 25% of Bank of Ayudhya.

GE sold 7.6% of Bank of Ayudhya to institutional investors last month and said at the time that it was reviewing strategic options for its remaining holding. The company "continues to review strategic options for its remaining interest … and cannot comment on market speculation", the company said yesterday.

Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank), Malaysia's biggest bank by asset size, has shelved plans to buy GE's entire stake, arguing this would not give it absolute control of the Thai bank.

Bank of Ayudhya provides banking, consumer finance, investment, asset management and other financial products and services to individual customers, SMEs, and large corporations through its branches and service outlets. It was founded in 1945.
 

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