The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Malaysia: Big guns outmanoeuvre local lender

Malaysian retail bank Southern Bank had its expansion plans scuppered in December by Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank, after BNM refused to approve Southern Bank’s proposed acquisition of Asia General Holdings, a Singapore general insurance company.

Although BNM gave no reasons for the rejection, it is thought to be keen to see a merger between Southern Bank and state-controlled bank CIMB, itself in the midst of a merger with another lender, Bumiputra-Commerce Bank. BNM granted CIMB permission to open merger talks with certain shareholders of Southern Bank in October.

The move has prompted a serious board rift at Southern Bank, with the resignation in December of the bank’s chairman, believed to be in favour of a merger with CIMB, while the CEO is set against the idea. The deck is stacked in CIMB’s favour. Temasek Holdings, a discloseable shareholder in Southern Bank, has been a recent seller and Southern Bank’s board was recently forced to adjourn indefinitely the shareholder meeting called to approve the Asia General Holdings deal.

Take out a complimentary trial

Take out a 7 day trial to gain unlimited access to and analysis and receive expertly-curated updates direct to your inbox.


Already a user?

Login now


We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree