Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Malaysia's AMMB, RHB Bank Plan to Scrap Proposed Merger

  • Malaysian firms couldn’t agree on terms of combination
  • Deal would have allowed ANZ Bank to exit investment in AMMB

RHB Bank Bhd., Malaysia’s fourth-largest lender by assets, and AMMB Holdings Bhd. are planning to scrap their proposed merger, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

RHB and AMMB had difficulty reaching agreement on terms, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The companies could announce as soon as Tuesday that they’ve decided to end talks about a combination, according to the person. RHB has a market capitalization of about $4.6 billion, while AMMB is valued at $3.3 billion in Kuala Lumpur.

A merger would have offered Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. an opportunity to sell its 24 percent stake in AMMB as it seeks to refocus on its domestic lending market. The Malaysian lenders said in June they had won central bank approval to start exclusive negotiations on what was expected to be an all-share deal. That exclusivity period was due to expire on Aug. 30. 

Shares of both lenders were suspended from trading in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, pending material announcements. A representative for AMMB declined to comment, saying the lender would issue a statement to the stock exchange shortly. A spokeswoman for RHB said she couldn’t immediately comment.

The lenders’ decision not to proceed with a merger comes more than two years after a plan to combine RHB with CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. and Malaysia Building Society Bhd. fell apart. The central bank has been encouraging consolidation among local lenders to help create larger entities that can better compete on a regional level.

— With assistance by Chanyaporn Chanjaroen

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