04 May 2012

CIMB Group set to start business in Australia in the next three to four months, to leverage on RBS presence in Australia - CEO Datuk Seri Nazir Razak

(CIMB closing stock price today (3.5.2012) was RM 7.54)

MELBOURNE: The CIMB Group is set to start business in Australia in the next three to four months, the Malaysian bank's Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Nazir Tun Razak said Thursday.

The group enters the Australian investment banking industry after acquiring the majority of the Royal Bank of Scotland's Australian business.

Nazir said CIMB would leverage its reach in Asia to win market share.

"Australian corporates that have Asian interest will find a network and reach that is quite unique at CIMB.

"CIMB is an Asean bank. Asean is Australia's direct neighbour and, because of that, Australia will be core to CIMB's investment banking operations.

"We have multi-local platforms across Asean and to an extent, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) as a whole. These can deliver deals, relationships and financial support. Our new Australian franchise will certainly not be an appendage on the far reaches of a global empire," he said in an interview with "The Australian" newspaper.

CIMB bought RBS' Australian equities, equity capital markets, mergers and acquisitions businesses as part of its pound stg. 173.9 million ($273m) purchase of most of the British bank's Asia-Pacific investment banking unit.

CIMB, which has been expanding its presence in Southeast Asia by acquisitions since 2006, has sold the RBS deal as a way to build the regional investment banking business faster and cheaper than by growing organically.

Nazir said expanding its investment banking reach beyond Asean was a priority and "the Australian part of this deal was very desirable to us".

After solidifying the deal with RBS last month, he expects CIMB to open up shops in Australia in three to four months, which he described as "relatively quick but not easy as RBS had other options".

Although Nazir said he was still working on the final headcount for CIMB in Australia and the mix of RBS and CIMB staff, he backed RBS' performance and position in the market.

Nazir said CIMB was happy with the number of senior RBS' staff it had retained and expressed a desire to buy the British bank's stake in RBS Morgans. -- BERNAMA

Source: www.nst.com.my


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