Cathay Financial Holding Co (
Cathay Financial sold 25.49 million global depositary receipts for US$19.40 each, said Jonathan Back, co-head of equity capital markets in Asia for JPMorgan Chase & Co, which arranged the sale. Each GDR represents 10 common shares.
The sale price is equivalent to a 3.8 percent discount to Tuesday's closing price in Taipei of NT$66.50.
On the local bourse, Cathay Financial shares fell NT$1.50, or 2.3 percent, to NT$65 yesterday.
The government wants to halve the number of local financial holding companies in two years to seven to help them compete against foreign rivals such as Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings Plc for business.
"The stock issue means Cathay Financial is ready to take action by making an acquisition," said Parker Wu (
Cathay Financial, which owns the country's largest life insurer, offers banking, brokerage and insurance services.
The company has repeatedly said it remains interested in acquiring a bank as it tries to expand its branch network and may consider participating in the sale of failed Chung Shing Bank (
Cathay Financial may also target securities brokerages, said Wu, who has used 4 percent of the fund he manages to buy Cathay Financial stock.
The stock sale is equivalent to a 3 percent stake in the company, increasing foreign ownership to 18 percent, Back said in a telephone interview yesterday from Hong Kong.
``The proceeds will be used to prepare for potential consolida-tion,'' Back said, without naming potential acquisition targets.