Thu, Dec 28, 2006 - Page 12 News List

EnTie could sell up to 30 percent stake to foreign investors

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

EnTie Commercial Bank (安泰商業銀行) confirmed yesterday that it could sell up to 30 percent of the bank to strategic foreign investors but declined any buyout offers.

"We are indeed in talks with several interested international investors to form a strategic alliance," EnTie chairman Paul Chiu (邱正雄) said on the sidelines of a financial forum in Taipei.

The bank does not rule out selling a 25 percent or 30 percent stake and giving board seats to the foreign buyer, he said.

"But we do not welcome buyout deals, as we want a strategic tie-up only," said Chiu, who served as minister of finance from 1996 to 2000.

The plan

EnTie, one among a group of 16 banks established in the early 1990s following the government's financial liberalization move, wants to sell shares abroad in an effort to enhance its competitiveness.

The Chinese-language Commercial Times reported last month that the bank was in talks with several interested Japanese investors, including leading candidate Orix Group, Japan's largest non-bank financing company, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Japan's biggest bank.

Chiu yesterday declined to name its counterparts and said no clear timetable to close the deal had been set.

Holding firm

EnTie was hoping to form a financial holding firm, as its founder and major shareholder, Lin Yu-lin (林堉璘), along with his family, also control Hontai Life Insurance Co (宏泰人壽).

For the moment the plan is still pending, as the financial regulator continues its freeze on the licensing of new financial groups.

For the first 11 months of this year, EnTie incurred a net loss of NT$4 billion (US$122.3 million) with a bad loan ratio reaching 5.41 percent resulting in part from consumer credit abuse and the bank's balance transfer service.

EnTie shares closed up 1.2 percent at NT$10.10 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

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