RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Thailand

Maybank likes Thailand but has other priorities

If Maybank acquires a Thai bank, it would be based on terms and an environment that it was comfortable with and would not be purely for the sake of having a representation.

This view was expressed by Maybank's group chief financial officer, Mohamed Rafique Merican.

"Maybank is always looking for a right fit in Thailand. It is something that we will definitely consider and look at," Rafique said.

While Maybank remains interested in building its presence in Thailand, the immediate focus is to expand in the markets where it has a strong presence.

"The growth in Indonesia, for example, is going to be faster than [in] Malaysia," he said.

Rafique's comments followed Maybank's recent private placement exercise, which raised a record 3.66 billion ringgit (Bt36.7 billion).

The exercise had fuelled speculation that Maybank would bid for Bank of Ayudhya after reports that the bank, CIMB Group and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp were interested in General Electric's 25.3-per-cent stake in the fifth-largest banking group in Thailand.

Maybank has since said the funds raised were not meant for that purpose.

Currently, Maybank has a presence in the Kingdom via Maybank Kim Eng Securities (Thailand).

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