Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - Page 13 News List

China Development to buy Cosmos for NT$23.09bn

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控) yesterday announced plans to acquire Cosmos Bank (萬泰銀行) for NT$23.09 billion (US$759.39 million) with a cash and a share-swap scheme, both companies said in separate stock exchange filings.

Under the agreement, a shareholder in Cosmos bank would receive 0.2 shares in China Development Financial, as well as NT$13.4 per share, the filings said. The offer would equate to 1.26 times of Cosmos Bank’s net worth, given the buyer’s average closing price at NT$8.69 during the final quarter of last year, China Development president Paul Yang (楊文鈞) said.

The two sides plan to carry out the share exchange on July 30, if the Financial Supervisory Commission gives its go-ahead, the filings said.

Cosmos Bank is to then cease to exist and integrate into China Development Industrial Bank (中華開發工銀), the main subsidiary of China Development Financial.

For years, China Development Bank has been seeking to expand into a commercial bank to grow its business and earnings. It holds a 6.77 percent stake in Cosmos Bank at present, but will hold 100 percent after the buyout, the filings said.

Shares in China Development Financial dropped 0.34 percent to close at NT$8.7 yesterday, while Cosmos Bank closed up 0.97 percent to NT$15.55, compared with a nearly flat TAIEX, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

That would suggest a discount of 2.6 percent on the part of Cosmos Bank if the deal took place yesterday.

Separately, Citibank Taiwan yesterday said it aims to outperform its peers in tapping business opportunities linked to the government’s free economic pilot zones program.

“We aim to be the strongest performer in the offshore banking unit [OBU] business that is valued at NT$300 billion in five years,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Victor Kuan (管國霖) said.

The figures may rise to trillions of New Taiwan dollars if Taiwanese businesspeople move their funds home from overseas, Kuan said.

A recent survey conducted by Citibank showed that about 70 percent of respondents would consider wiring their overseas funds back to bank accounts in Taiwan after the government loosens its hold on OBU-related business.

Among them, 45 percent said more convenience to manage funds would account for their willingness to repatriate funds and 28 percent indicated plans to invest in the latest financial products offered through OBU, the lender’s retail banking head Kevin Hu (胡醒賢) said.

To meet the demand, Citibank Taiwan will launch a wide range of yuan-based products, including the first renminbi qualified foreign institutional investor fund and the first offshore yuan fund, Hu said.

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