RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Taiwan

Taiwan's Fubon aims to acquire 51% of China-based Sino Bank

Taiwan’s Fubon Financial is seeking a 51 percent stake in China-based First Sino Bank for RM2.09 billion within the year.

Fubon plans to buy the stake from Taiwan’s Pou Chen Group, a major supplier of Nike shoes. The Taiwanese bank is mostly done with its due diligence on First Sino. 

“Communication between Chinese regulators and Fubon has been smooth,” said a source.

First Sino is 60 percent owned by Pou Chen, 30 per cent by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and the rest by Wing Hang Bank. It was set up in 1997 to help Taiwanese companies operating in China get funding, and that remains its main business.

The deal would give Fubon 13 branches in big cities across China to add to the 31 it has in China’s southeastern Fujian Province via its stake in Xiamen Bank.

However, Mega Financial, which is controlled by the Taiwan government, is also interested in investing in First Sino.

“The factors that could affect the outcome of this acquisition are Mega and decision of regulators from both sides,” added the source.

Mega may face regulatory hurdles however given the Taiwan government’s controlling stake. 

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