Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 12 News List

ABN AMRO must receive approval to sell assets: FSC

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Regulator approval would be required if Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) were to sell off assets of its subsidiary ABN AMRO Bank in Taiwan to Chinese buyers, a Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) official said yesterday.

Such an approval, however, may not be possible before Taiwan inks a memorandum of understanding with China to facilitate the entry of Chinese banks in Taiwan.

Lin Tung-liang (林棟樑), deputy director of the commission’s banking bureau, refused to confirm whether the granting of such an approval would be possible anytime soon, adding that “regulatory approval is required” if Chinese investors are to invest in local banks.

Lin said the commission had yet to be informed of RBS’ liquidation plan in Taiwan, which has been reported by local media.

The Chinese-language Commercial Times yesterday reported that RBS intended to put its businesses in Asia — including those in Taiwan — up for sale. The bank plans to strengthen its presence in Hong Kong, Singapore and India while withdrawing from markets in Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, the report said.

It said the bank had priced ABN AMRO Bank in Taiwan at US$500 million, touting potential “Chinese buyers or domestic financial holding companies.”

Commission statistics showed that as of the end of last year ABN AMRO Bank in Taiwan had a net worth of NT$1.85 billion (US$53.7 million) after reporting NT$2.55 billion in before-tax losses and a 1.87 percent bad-loan ratio.

As announced last quarter, the bank has launched a strategic review of its businesses, which will be completed by the end of the next quarter, Edward Lee (李以仁), head of communications at ABN AMRO Bank, said by telephone yesterday.

The bank, which is scheduled to report its finances tomorrow, will provide an update if any decisions were made on disposals, he said.

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