Thu, Dec 14, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Standard Chartered solidifies takeover

HSINCHU INTERNATIONAL Standard's takeover of Hsinchu via a tender offer is the first foreign buyout of a local bank as the government pushes banking consolidation

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Standard Chartered Bank obtained outright control of the board of Hsinchu International Bank (新竹國際商銀) at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday, paving the way for the eventual integration of the two banks, the British banking giant said yesterday.

Standard Chartered, which controls 95.4 percent of the Hsinchu-based bank, took a total of nine board seats and two supervisor spots, the bank said in a statement released yesterday.

Hsinchu International chairman Wu Chih-wei (吳志偉) was selected as chairman of the new board and will double as president of the bank, the statement said.

"This is an important step forward in the integration of the two banks," Standard Chartered Group executive director Kai Nargolwala said in the statement.

It's a strong board that reflects the talented management team at Hsinchu and at Standard Chartered, said Nargolwala, who was elected as a member of the board yesterday.

Standard Chartered's takeover of Hsinchu International via a tender offer is the first foreign buyout deal of a local bank in Taiwan as the government pushes consolidation of the fragmented banking sector.

The acquisition helped jack up Standard Chartered's outlet number to 86 from three nationwide and gave the institution a ready-made Taiwanese corporate customer base in China.

Hsinchu International's board also approved plans for the bank to delist from the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The date for the delisting is subject to the financial regulator's approval, the bank said.

Standard Chartered said last month that it hoped the delisting process would be completed by February.

The British bank will make arrangements to buy all remaining outstanding shares at an offer of NT$24.5 (US$0.75) per share within 50 days of the delisting, Standard Chartered's corporate affairs consultant Margrit Chang (張平穎) said.

However, the future integration could be tough for Standard Chartered, considering the rising opposition among Hsinchu International employees, who are worried about losing their jobs.

Nearly 100 Hsinchu International employees staged a protest in front of the headquarters yesterday morning while the shareholders' meeting was underway.

The employees, who are forming an industrial union, said they were kept completely in the dark as the takeover talks progressed and demanded settlement of outstanding benefits and the signing of an agreement to provide job security for the firm's 3,300 workers.

Standard Chartered insisted that no one will be made redundant during the integration process and the company will continue to communicate with employees to accommodate their concerns.

"The takeover is about growth, and we want everyone to be with us and grow with us," Chang said.

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