Temasek wants to merge Indonesian banks: BII

Jakarta (Antara News) - Singapore's Temasek Holdings wants to merge Indonesia's Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) and Bank Danamon pending approval from banking regulatory bodies here, BII said Thursday.

Bank Danamon is the fourth largest bank in Indonesia by assets, while BII is the sixth largest.

The Singapore government's investment arm, through Fullerton Financial Holdings (FFH), is the majority shareholder of Sorak Consortium.

Sorak owns 56.13 percent of BII shares and Temasek recently raised its stake in Sorak to 75 percent from 50 percent.

The Singapore government's investment arm also owns 85 percent of Asia Financial (Indonesia), which holds 68.87 percent of Bank Danamon.

"FFH's current preferred option is to explore a merger between BII and Danamon subject to further evaluation and clearance from the regulatory bodies," BII was quoted by Thomson Financial as saying in a statement.

Its key shareholder has submitted an ownership structure adjustment plan to Bank Indonesia to comply with the central bank's single presence policy, BII said. Under the policy, a bank owner may only own or control one bank.

The regulation will take effect by the end of 2010 but the central bank has set an end-2007 deadline for bank owners to submit a proposal to resolve any shareholding issues they may have.

"In the event that the merits of a merger are not sufficiently compelling
or a sale is more compelling, Fullerton may pursue a sale," it said.

"FFH may take steps necessary to facilitate the sale at anytime during the merger evaluation in preference over a merger," it said.

Myrna Thomas, managing director for corporate affairs at Temasek Holdings, said in a statement from Singapore that: "We remain open at all times to maintain, increase or reduce our holdings, depending on opportunities and market conditions."

BII president Henry Ho said the bank's management "will further develop an action plan accordingly in due time. Meanwhile, we will continue to conduct business as usual."

Bank Danamon said in the event that a sale is more compelling, FFH may pursue a sale at any time during the evaluation process.

"A sale will result in FFH being the controlling shareholder of Danamon only," it said. (*)
_________________________ Indonesian Business and Investment News Aggregator