Tue, Feb 14, 2012 - Page 12 News List

EnTie shares rise amid Longreach sale rumors

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Shares of EnTie Commercial Bank (安泰銀行) rose by the daily limit to NT$16.50 yesterday on reports its major foreign shareholder, Longreach Group, plans to sell its stake by the end of this year.

The Australian private equity fund holds a 58 percent stake in EnTie Bank, which posted NT$2.6 billion (US$88.14 million) in pre-tax income last year, or earnings per share of NT$1.55, the lender’s chief financial officer Andrew Lee (李治平) said by telephone.

“We cannot confirm or deny media reports,” Lee said.

Longreach Group intends to offload its stake in EnTie five years after it secured majority control of the lender for NT$23 billion (US$7.79 million), or NT$21 per share, local Chinese-language media outlets said, without citing sources.

Longreach expects to sell its stake for between NT$28 and NT$30 per share and will hire a consulting firm this week to conduct the deal, the media reports said.

It is common for equity funds to divest their investment in a company after five to seven years, Lee said, adding that the issue had not been raised in board discussions so far.

The planned sale could affect another major shareholder, Hungtai Group (宏泰集團), a Taiwanese land developer, the reports said.

EnTie had capital of NT$16.8 billion and a non-performing loan ratio of 0.34 percent at the end of December, company data indicated.

The lender aims to boost earnings modestly this year, driven by corporate and consumer banking businesses, Lee said.

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