Few companies come back from a 99% plunge in their share price, but that's what an Australian rare-earths miner and chemical processor has done-thanks to the electric-car revolution and an environmental cleanup in China.
Lynas Corp. was a highflier six years ago as strong demand and tight supplies lifted prices for the unusual metals it produces, such as praseodymium and neodymium--they're used to make high-strength magnets and other products essential for a range of technologies. But from a market capitalization on the Australian stock exchange of $3 billion in 2011, Lynas' value plunged to $3 million in 2015. It was only a penny stock, worth just 2.3 Australian cents a share. High debt, problems building its processing plant in Malaysia and tumbling prices for rare earths had driven the company to the brink of collapse.
Tightly controlled rare-earths production in China, the world's major source of the odd elements, coupled with export restrictions, had driven prices sharply higher in 2011. But after the price boom came a rare-earths flood and a price crash. The only U.S. rare-earths company, Molycorp, went bankrupt in 2015. Lynas, a former gold miner, somehow survived, and today it's enjoying a rerun of the rare-earths shortage as China's tougher pollution laws and the growing popularity of electric cars are boosting prices.
For Lynas Chief Executive Amanda Lacaze, the road back has been rocky, with her first job being to stabilize the business and satisfy creditors while ensuring that the Malaysia plant was able to meet customers' demanding specifications. She laid off much of the headquarters staff in Sydney and moved the rest and herself to Malaysia. Only in the past 12 months has the mood at Lynas started to reflect the rising prices for rare earths. Indeed, the price of its most basic product, a mix of praseodymium and neodymium that is marketed as NdPr, has risen from around $40 a kilogram in September of last year to more than $90 a kilogram now.
That rise, coupled with record rates of production, enabled Lynas to lift its revenue from $139 million in the 2016 fiscal year to $194 million in the year ended June 30 and cut a $68.5 million loss to $11.2 million. That trend accelerated in the quarter ended in September, with sales reaching a record $88 million, up 108% from the same quarter last year. "It was our first champagne quarter," says Lacaze. "Revenue, production and cash flow from operations all reached record levels. In addition, we recorded significant improvements to our balance sheet."
The straight-talking Melbourne-born Lacaze, 57, who lives with her husband near the company's plant outside of Kuantan in east Malaysia, is quick to advise against seeing Lynas as a miner. "We are a specialty chemical company," she says. "We just happen to mine the raw material we need for the production of a range of unique products."
It's rare for a woman to lead a chemical or mining company--Australia's richest person, iron ore queen Gina Rinehart, is another exception--but it's probably more unusual that Lacaze's background isn't in chemicals or mining. Her career has been spent mostly in marketing with companies such as Nestl? and Australian telecommunications leader Telstra, where she worked as marketing director. It was her marketing and management skills that persuaded Lynas to hire her as CEO in 2014.
Those skills have been instrumental in smoothing relations with the Malaysian government, particularly on the thorny issue of preventing leaks of radioactive waste. Lynas is required to report regularly to the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board, as well as pay a security deposit.
Lynas' rare earths come from the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia. It's an unusual mine because it does not operate continuously. Instead, roughly two "campaigns" a year lasting a few months each are all that's required to extract enough ore for a year of processing in Malaysia.
Richer in rare earths than most Chinese mines, Mount Weld is a competitive advantage for Lynas, while the modern Malaysia processing plant and its strong customer support, especially from Japanese manufacturers keen to support a non-Chinese source of supply, are also key assets. Because some rare earths have military uses, such as in precision-guided weapons, they have sometimes been at the center of diplomatic disputes. One time was in 2010, when China banned exports to Japan after a Chinese fishing boat was detained by the Japanese coast guard.
Electric cars are the biggest driver for rare earths today, with each requiring 2 kilograms of rare-earths magnets for power steering, power train and chassis components; the small electric motors that operate windows, wipers and seats; and other uses. The average electric car uses ten times more permanent magnets--ones that never lose their magnetism--than a traditional car. Wind turbines generating energy are another significant growth area for rare earths, with a turbine gear box requiring 220 pounds of rare-earths magnets.
Notoriously tricky in every way, the 17 elements that make up the rare-earths family not only have tongue-twister names such as dysprosium, ytterbium and gadolinium, but are neither rare (just hard to produce and pronounce) nor earths (they're minerals).
In addition to their use in long-life, high-strength magnets, rare earths find their way into a wide variety of products, such as oil refining (lanthanum), glass production (cerium), X-ray machines (thulium), naval sonar systems (terbium), aerospace equipment and golf clubs (scandium, as an alloy with other metals). None of the rare earths are required in large quantities, which means that the market can be quickly satisfied. This presents a challenge for achieving a balance between supply and demand, a test made more difficult by the nature of China's centrally planned economy.
Extreme price moves and a very thin market have been a feature of rare earths for decades. A 2006 story in Forbes Asia (before Lynas started mining rare earths) chronicled an earlier surge in demand, when the rare earth europium was expected to be the big profit earner. But demand for europium, which is used in lasers, never developed as expected.
Lacaze acknowledges the importance of Chinese production controls in lifting rare-earths prices and cautions that it would be unwise to assume this will become a permanent feature of the market. "The next trap is believing the market will look like it does now forever," she says.
That view means that Lacaze remains focused on cost controls at the Malaysia plant and in expanding its range of products. In its latest quarter Lynas produced 1,442 metric tons of NdPr, up 99 tons on the previous quarter. Lacaze said in her quarterly report that demand for NdPr was being driven by factors that included magnet makers stocking up as a hedge against future price rises, speculation about China building a strategic stockpile and "intensification" of environmental compliance investigations by Beijing.
More work is required for Lynas to rid itself of the memories of its near-death experience, including the continued retirement of debt and a one-for-ten share swap to shrink a bloated stock register. It's also developing new products, including new grades of cerium. And its lanthanum product has been approved for purchase by two new customers. Commercial shipments are scheduled to start next month.
Source: Forbes Asia
KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World International Bhd (EWI) has today secured access to a prime development land situated 12 kilometres northwest of Sydney’s central business district with plans to develop a AU$139 million gross development value (GDV) project there.
The project site is at 1-3 Lachlan Avenue, Macquarie Park, Sydney adjacent to Macquarie University in the Macquarie University Precinct.
In a statement today, EWI said the area is home to one of Australia’s top 10 universities and top two per cent universities in the world that attracts thousands of international students annually.
It is also strategically positioned within close proximity to the Macquarie Innovation Park District (MIPD), Macquarie University Train Station and Macquarie Shopping Centre.
MIPD is Sydney’s second largest business district and one of the largest business and technology precincts in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We are delighted to be able to add the Macquarie Park site, which is situated in a fast-growing location extremely popular with Sydney-siders, to our growing project portfolio in Australia.
“Our decision to focus on serving the needs of the domestic property market began with the acquisition of the Yarra One site in South Yarra, Melbourne.”
The latest deal followed EWI’s recent deals with Willmott Dixon to potentially acquire 12 projects in the UK.
“The announcement today is therefore in line with our overall strategy to localise our brand wherever we operate,” said EWI president and chief executive officer Datuk Teow Leong Seng.
EWI said at present, there is an existing building located on the project site with 30 en-bloc apartment units.
It said under the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 (Australia), 75 per cent of unit owners in a strata scheme can agree to end their strata scheme, so the site can be redeveloped or sold.
EWI has also entered into a call and put option agreement with owners of 25 of the apartment units to acquire these units by way of a collective sale, representing 84.2 per cent of the strata scheme which enables the company to proceed with the acquisition of all the apartment units through a strata renewal process under the Act.
It said the estimated purchase price to acquire the entire site is about AU$40 million and the proposed acquisition is expected to be completed by November 2018.
EWI said it plans to develop 125 units of residential apartments with a small component of retail.
The project is targeted to be launched in the first half of 2019 and completed over three to four years from the date of launch.
Funding for the proposed acquisition of the Sydney project is expected to come from a combination of the proceeds of EcoWorld International’s recent IPO and bank borrowings /other debt instruments, it said.
Source: NST Business
KUALA LUMPUR: More than a quarter of the net lettable area (NLA) of retail space at Lendlease’s Lifestyle Quarter in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) has been successfully leased to three anchor tenants.
Lendlease Development Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Stuart Mendel told reporters at a luncheon that 26% of its 1.3 million square feet will be occupied by Seibu, a new-to-market leading Japanese departmental store, an upscale supermarket brand by Dairy Farm Group of Hong Kong, as well as a new concept in cinema and entertainment by Golden Screen Cinemas.
Lendlease, an Australia-based property and infrastructure group, has a 60% stake in the joint venture (JV) with TRX City Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, holding the remaining 40%.
Lendlease’s lifestyle quarters occupy up to a quarter of TRX’s total 70 acres and will be the heartbeat of the financial centre.
Mendel said the total gross floor area was about 5.5 million sq ft, which means there will be a lot of open space.
“TRX will be really different (from other retail malls). There is nothing similar to it in the country at the moment,” Mendel said, adding that the team was working to secure the first 50% of the leases currently.
A number of the retailers would be opening their flagship stores at TRX, said Mendel.
By February 2018, Lendlease aims to work on the second 50% of the leases.
It is working on 20% of the NLA to be food and beverage-based, with the option to raise this to a third of NLA when needed.
On the oversupply of mall space in the country currently and the challenge posed by online retail, Mendel said the plan is to offer shoppers an experience like no other.
“We will get them out of their homes,” said Mendel.
The catalyst will be the seamless MRT connectivity which opens on to the mall’s lower level. Despite the public rail connection, there will be 2,700 car park bays for the retail portion. Three levels will sit above ground level.
The other catalyst is the 10-acre public park, said Mendel. “TRX will be a destination,” he added.
He declined to detail rental rates and the tenure of their anchors other than that the retail portion would be the first to be completed by 2020.
Besides retail, the lifestyle quarter will also have 2,400 high-rise residential units spread over six blocks. Mendel said there would be 900 units in the first phase, but it would not put all 900 on sale. Built-up areas of the units range between 500 sq ft and 2,000 sq ft.
“We will have a multi-country approach and we will launch in different countries,” he said.
Besides TRX, Lendlease has also commenced construction of phase 2 of Setia City Mall, Shah Alam. The mall is owned by Greenhill Resources Sdn Bhd, a JV between Asian Retail Investment Fund 2, a Lendlease managed fund, and SP Setia Bhd.
The extension will add 400,000 sq ft of space, bringing the combined lettable floor area to 1.2 million sq ft. Middle East-based retailer LULU will operate a departmental store and a supermarket, occupying more than a third of the extension.
Source : The Star
KUCHING: Ceramic tile manufacturer Kim Hin Industry Bhd's sales in Australia will be bolstered as the company has secured a contract to be the sole supplier of tiles for the Melbourne Square project.
The Melbourne Square project, undertaken by OSK Property Holdings Bhd in partnership with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), has an expected gross development value (GDV) of A$2.8bil (RM9.4bil). Stage one of the project, Melbourne’s single largest integrated development, will feature two eliptical residential towers comprising over 1,000 apartments with a GDV of over A$900mil.
Executive chairman Chua Seng Huat said Kim Hin secured the order for the supply of ceramic tiles to Melbourne Square’s first apartment tower project.
“We will supply Johnson tiles to the entire apartment project in the next five years. The supply value is estimated to be more than RM10mil,” he told StarBiz.
Kim Hin, which ranks among Malaysia’s top three ceramic tile makers, will also be expected to supply Johnson tiles, a premium product, to Melbourne Square project’s other development components. However, the tiles requirements for these proposed developments have not been worked out.
Kim Hin’s plants in Malaysia and China took over the manufacturing of Johnson tiles for both the domestic and export markets after the company acquired UK-based Norcros Industry Pty Ltd, a major importer and distributor of Johnson tiles in Australia, and properties owned by Johnson Tiles Pty Ltd for a total of RM22.65mil in 2014.
Chua sees Australia, a key export market for Kim Hin, driving growth for the company especially after its acquisition of Outset Holdings Pty Ltd, a distributor of premium building products in New South Wales for RM19.4mil last September.
Outset operates a network of 24 franchise Amber stores and three company-owned stores. Outset controls Amber Group Australia, which also operates a wholesale business h comprising a distribution centre located in Sydney.
“Kim Hin now has its own distribution network for products via 23 franchised outlets,and we have control of the retail market in Australia. The Amber group has started to buy our products and the profit margins are good,” he said.
In the first half of 2017 (H1’17), the total sales of Kim Hin’s Australian operations soared to RM75.3mil from RM31.2mil in H1’16 and contributed some 38% to the company’s total sales of RM198.7mil during the period under review.
Domestic sales in Malaysia, however, fell about 20% to RM98.7mil from RM125.1mil
The company’s China sales were flat at RM33mil but its Vietnam sales improved to RM2.3mil from RM1.8mil during the same period.
In H1’17, the company’s Australian and Chinese operations contributed RM4.93mil (against a loss of RM527,000 in H1’16) and RM4.91mil (RM3.7mil) respectively to the group’s pretax profit of RM6.4mil. The earnings were, however, impacted by its Malaysian operation as it incurred losses of RM3.46mil, a reversal from a profit of RM5.1mil in H1’-16.
Chua attributed the dismal performance of the Malaysian operation to the slowdown in the property market.
“Due to the delay of their projects, a lot of developers delayed the take up of tiles from us. However, domestic sales are expected to pick up in the second half year,” he said.
According to Chua, the OSK group has also committed to use Kim Hin tile products for all its property projects in Malaysia.
“OSK will become one of our major clients in the years to come. Our current major clients include developers Ecoworld and SP Setia which use both Johnson Tiles and Kim Hin’s other tiles under the Kimgres brand,” he added.
To boost its production in Seremban, Kim Hin will set aside RM10mil from the proceeds of the proposed disposal of its property in Australia for a major upgrading project of the plant acquired from Johan Ceramic Bhd.
Wholly-owned subsidiary Kim Hin Investments Pty Ltd entered into a sales contract with Ouson Pty Ltd on Sept 4 for the disposal of a two-level building at 362 Wellington Road, Mulgrave Business Park, Victoria for A$8.8mil (RM29.9mil).
The sale is expected to be completed by March.
Kim Hin will utilise RM9.8mil from the sales proceeds to purchase one penthouse at Melbourne Square project. Another RM3.5mil will be used as capital expenditure for property, plant and equipment in Malaysia and RM5.5mil for short-term working capital.
Chua said old machineries at the former Johan Ceramic plant would be replaced and other facilities upgraded to boost production capacity.
Source: The Star
Qantas Frequent Flyer members can now book Malaysia Airlines reward flights via the Qantas website using their Qantas Points, following IT upgrades revealed by Australian Business Traveller earlier this year.
This means there’s no longer a need to call Qantas to book these journeys – as was previously the only option – with Malaysia Airlines first class, business class and economy reward flights all now available online.
From Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, 65,000 Qantas Points plus $275 in taxes, fees and charges can secure you a one-way business class ticket, with 35,000 Qantas Points plus $250 fetching an economy fare.
First class isn’t offered on Malaysia Airlines’ flights to Australia, but can be booked on the airline’s Kuala Lumpur-London route – either as a standalone ticket from Malaysia or as part of a connecting journey from Australia.
For instance, you could fly in business class from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and then first class onwards to London for a grand total of 199,000 Qantas Points plus $510 on the side.
However, keep in mind that 192,000 Qantas Points is enough for a ticket from Sydney to London via Dubai with Emirates entirely in first class, or for just 4,000 Qantas Points more than the Malaysia Airlines ticket – being 203,000 Qantas Points – you could also fly first class the whole way with Qatar Airways via Doha or British Airways via Singapore.
Alternatively, a Malaysia Airlines ticket from Sydney to London via Kuala Lumpur entirely in business class can be secured for 139,000 Qantas Points plus $510 in fees, taxes and charges, or for 75,000 Qantas Points plus $460 in co-payments to fly economy.
Along with Sydney, Malaysia Airlines also flies between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, and between Perth and Kota Kinabalu – all of which can now be booked online using Qantas Points, subject to availability.
Qantas plans to offer online bookings for China Eastern and Japan Airlines reward flights from early 2018 as well, with Qantas Frequent Flyer members also gaining access to business class and first class reward flight on EI AL Isreal Airlines last month, which can be booked online too.
Source: Australian Business Traveller
THE Perth property market in Western Australia has bottomed out and is attracting Malaysian property developers.
According to a report from Momentum Wealth, a Perth-based property investment adviser, the market is now in a recovery phase.
Entitled “Residential Property Spotlight: Perth”, the report showed that the worst was behind the Perth property market, following a three-year downturn during which supply outweighed demand amid record-high housing construction and slower population growth.
There are some positive trends in the market such as the tightening housing supply and high affordability which are expect rooted to draw buyers back into the market.
Perth’s population of around 2.1 million is also poised to rebound as the labour market continues to strengthen.
Real estate experts believe the overall Western Australia property market would improve, relative to the rest of the country over the next two to three years.
They expect house prices to rebound and grow 1.3 per cent.
As of March, the median house price in Perth was A$506,500 (RM1.5 million), with a lower quartile price of A$405,000. Median rents were at A$360 a week with lower quartile rents at A$320 a week.
GOLDEN CITY LAND TO GROW IN PERTH
Golden City Land Pty Ltd director Datuk Saudagar Singh said there has never been a better time to invest in Perth while the property market is correcting and expecting a great upturn.
“While Sydney and Melbourne’s house prices have skyrocketed, Perth’s property market is still affordable and welcomes Malaysian investors as a stepping stone to the Australian property market.
“Perth has been gaining some serious interest from Southeast Asian investors, particularly Malaysians and Singaporeans, due to its strategic location and close proximity of being merely five hours flight away,” he told NST Property.
Golden City Land offers a complete 360 degree service when it comes to properties which includes consultation, acquisition, development, sales, leasing and management for Malaysian investors targeting to invest or develop in the Perth market.
The Perth-based company has an eye on the niche market of providing quality investment options suited to overseas property investors, particularly Malaysians.
It launched its maiden project, Golden City Apartments on 85 Surrey Road, Rivervale, in Perth in January last year.
The A$3.5 million project, which was completed in April this year, features a cluster of eight exclusive fully furnished two bedroom apartments ranging from 800 sq ft onwards.
The company has sold seven apartments priced between A$420,000 and A$440,000, mostly to Malaysians, said Saudagar.
He said the buyers were not only attracted to the location and pricing, but also the guaranteed rental returns for two years with a net rent of A$230 a week and option to further renew.
In addition, the buyers get a seven-day free stay at their investment home throughout the year, he added.
The developer had retained the eight and final unit and is releasing it now into the market as real estate demand in prime areas picks up.
Saudagar said the unit is priced at A$425,000 and loan options are available for the prospective buyers.
The Golden City Apartments is strategically located and centralised between the Perth CBD (central business district) and the Perth Airport, both being 5km or 10 minutes drive away.
The Crown Casino in Burswood is merely five minutes drive away and a billion-dollar world-class stadium, set for completion early next year, is located just footsteps away from the Golden City Apartments.
There have been reportedly more than 30 events lined up this year for its grand opening in February next year.
Located 1km away from the apartments is the Belmont Business Park which incorporates 825 businesses, while 3km away is the Belmont Racecourse.
“This augurs well for the owners of Golden City Apartments who will be able to lease their properties,” said Saudagar, a seasoned property investor, developer and hotelier in Malaysia and Australia.
Meanwhile, the company’s head of property (sales and leasing) Balveen Kaur believes that “quality is the best business plan for growth”.
“Your customers measure you on what you deliver. It is the best kind of advertising. This is proven based on the success of our project in Perth. There were no advertisements for this project. We sold the seven units through word of mouth. Riding on this, we will continue to embark on new projects in Perth, albeit cautiously,” she said.
Golden City Land is looking for more land to acquire not too far from the Perth CBD to undertake niche developments to cater to the discerning market, said Balveen.
“We have recently purchased a 2.2ha parcel located 15 minutes from the Perth CBD. This is going to be another exclusive boutique development,” she said.
QBE announces the appointment of Chris Kurinsky as Chief Executive Officer, QBE Insurance (Malaysia) Berhad.
In this role, Chris will be responsible for QBE's business across Malaysia. He will continue to drive the profitable growth in the country and increase the company's share in specialty, commercial, SME, and personal lines of business through strategic initiatives and partnerships.
Mark Lingafelter, Managing Director, QBE Asia Pacific, said: "We are very pleased to welcome Chris to QBE. His previous experience in the Malaysian insurance sector and his expertise in underwriting, distribution, reinsurance, and strategic planning will help us continue to expand our solid customer base in this dynamic market. Chris is inheriting a strong business in Malaysia, which is an integral part of our Emerging Markets Division and remains a key part of our profitable growth strategy."
Prior to joining QBE, Chris was Head of Sales and Direct Marketing, Consumer Lines, for Chubb Insurance China. Previously to his time spent in China, Chris was the General Manager of consumer lines for Chubb Malaysia and has extensive knowledge of the Malaysian insurance landscape. He has 20 years of experience in the insurance business, including working in various roles in mainland China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong as well as in the United States and Latin America.
UEM Sunrise, a Malaysian state-controlled property developer, plans to undertake a 158-unit luxury apartment project in Melbourne, with gross development value of 1.1 billion ringgit ($256.41 million), its chief executive said Friday.
The company is aiming for 50% take-up rate for the Melbourne apartment project by year-end, Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib told reporters at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur. The company plans to complete the project in the second quarter of 2021.
The company is seeking more land for real estate development in Australia, after successful sales at its first two projects - Aurora Melbourne Central and Conservatory in Melbourne, Australia, he added.
"We are interested in joint venture projects in Australia," Anwar said, adding the company is currently in talks with potential foreign partners for projects.
The Australian projects contributed 23% to the company's property development revenue in the first quarter ended March 2017.
Meanwhile, the company plans to launch 800 million ringgit Malaysian residential project this quarter, he added.
Apart from Malaysia and Australia, the company's projects are located in several other countries including Singapore, Canada and South Africa.
Human resource (HR) practices in Malaysia must change and accept the fact that the average turnover for any individual in this day and age is two-and-a-half years, according to one panellist at the Global Business Services Forum 2017 yesterday.
“In a HR organisation, have we evolved to the point that we really understand what talent management really means in the current day and age, and what it means five years down the road? It is not so much about how much you are going to pay, what great office painting you have on the wall, how big the CEO’s office is,” BAE Systems head of Malaysia engineering centre Rishesingar Ramasamy said during a panel discussion at the forum yesterday.
He said the industry has a huge part to play in adapting to changes in talent management and it is unfair to put the onus on the government to enable job creation opportunities.
“The average turnover for any individual is two to two-and-a-half years in any organisation here. That is the kind of turnover you are going to see and we have to accept and adapt to that fact. Does the recruitment engine understand that? Do we know that we are supposed to be prepared for the next attrition that is coming six months down the road? No, we are not.
“Those are the challenges that we need to be addressing, not just assuming the government is going to fix it all for us,” he added.
Malaysia Australia Business Council chairman Leigh Howard said there would be a lot more activity if the government were to retreat from the employment sector as jobs get created when businesses are allowed to get on with doing business.
“While I applaud everything that the government agencies do to try and create jobs, on the other side of the equation, the number one thing the government should do to create jobs is to get out of the way,” he said.
He said in a lot of economies including Malaysia, the people are so acclimatised to the regulation and involvement of government, especially in terms of employment, that they are desensitised to it.
Commenting on the rising trend of contract work against permanent employment, Howard said companies should embrace and plan for it.
“The employment relationship that existed 50 years ago is gone. It is archaic and we are just clinging to the remnants of that relationship by having employment contracts, having it protected and regulated,” he said.
He said talented employees get to go out and try their skills in various areas, and are doing that more frequently today. These employees are also creators and more mobile, bringing more diversity to the nature of the employment relationship.
“One mega trend that you can bank on is that change in the nature of employment relationship will continue,” he added.
Rishesingar said the perception that a contract position is “bad” shows that Malaysia has not adapted to changes in employment trends.
“If you look at the western world, that is an accepted norm, to get hired and fired on contract. That gives you the flexibility to move around and change, to do whatever you want, but it also pushes people to make sure that they are constantly learning. The protective environment that we are in is what’s artificially preventing people from wanting to change. So that is the issue with the labour market that we are seeing,” he said.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is near a deal to sell its Malaysian banking stake to a pension fund and exit the Southeast Asian nation, sources familiar with the matter said, in a transaction that could be worth around US$900 million (S$1.24 billion).
ANZ has been pursuing a sale of its 24 per cent stake in its affiliate AMMB Holdings (AmBank) since early last year as part of a strategy to divest minority stakes in Asia and as AmBank was dragged into a corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
In June, RHB Bank and AmBank said they were starting merger talks, in Malaysia's biggest banking deal. As part of the all-share deal, valued at about US$9 billion, RHB is looking to acquire AmBank and the two banks are in exclusive talks until end-August. ANZ's stake is expected to be roughly 10 per cent in the merged entity.
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