KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLCB.KL), a Malaysian lender controlled by the country’s six richest man Quek Leng Chan, is expected to try and take its 79 percent owned investment banking arm Hong Leong Capital Bhd (HLGC.KL) private to streamline its assets, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The deal comes at a time where banks around the world are required to meet higher capital requirements in the revised Basel III rules, which were drawn up to avoid a repeat of the financial crisis that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in 2008.
It also comes a month after Quek made an offer to take his Hong-Kong listed property-to-equity investment firm Guoco Group Ltd (0053.HK) private for $1.1 billion.
“Yes,” the source told Reuters on Saturday in confirming the expected move to privatize, but declined to be named as the matter was private or provide a value for the deal.
It would cost at least 69.6 million ringgit ($23.04 million) for Hong Leong Financial to buy the 21 percent stake it does not own in Hong Leong Capital, based on the latter’s last closing price of 1.42 ringgit per share on Friday.
Shares in both companies were suspended from trading on Friday afternoon pending an announcement, according to stock exchange filings. Shares in Hong Leong Financial closed 0.41 percent lower at 14.42 ringgit per share before suspended, while Hong Leong Capital ended 5.97 percent higher at 1.42 ringgit.
Hong Leong officials on Friday told Reuters an announcement will be made on Monday.
Reporting By Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Michael Perry