Fri, Feb 18, 2005 - Page 10 News List

IBT, SinoPac Financial merger talks fall apart

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The planned merger between the International Bank of Taipei (IBT, 台北國際商業銀行) and SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (建華金控) yesterday fell apart as the holding company may seek other merger partners.

"[The merger] was previously agreed to by both sides," said a manager at the Yuen Foong Yu Paper Mfg Co (永豐餘), who refused to be identified, yesterday. "But now we have nothing to comment on since the board of IBT failed to discuss it."

On Tuesday, Yuen Foong Yu Group's Felix Ho (何奕達), vice president of business integration, told reporters that the merger deal was near to completion, pending a final approval from the boards of both financial institutions yesterday afternoon.

Ho confirmed that his father, Ho Show-chung (何壽川), chairman of IBT, had become the biggest shareholder at SinoPac after increasing his stake in the financial service company from 5 percent to his current 15 percent holding.

Ho's Yuen Foong Yu Group also holds a controlling 35 percent stake in IBT and has influence over 10 seats on its 25-member board.

But the merger deal was not put on the agenda of the boards of either of the firms yesterday.

Felix Ho wasn't available for comment yesterday.

According to local media reports, some IBT board members had expressed opposition to Ho's unilateral decision to merge with SinoPac Financial.

Shin Kong Financial had previously expressed interest in a merger deal with the IBT, while Taishin Financial is also interested in acquiring SinoPac Financial.

Local media yesterday reported that the tie-up fallen apart because SinoPac Financial was in merger talks with IBT and Taishin Financial at the same time.

SinoPac's spokesman and executive vice president, Kevin Peng (彭康雄), however, has repeatedly said that the company is in merger talks with several candidates and IBT is just one of them.

Peng wasn't available for comment yesterday.

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