Maybank said to spin off insurance unit

By REUTERS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

SINGAPORE • Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Malaysia’s biggest bank, is preparing to spin off and list its insurance arm, Etiqa International Holdings Sdn Bhd, on the local stock exchange, sources with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.

Etiqa, which operates in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia, is estimated to be worth at least US$1 billion (RM3.89 billion), two sources said. It would have a bigger market value than insurance peer Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd, which is valued at about US$700 million.

Maybank’s Etiqa owns 69% of Maybank Ageas Holdings Bhd, while Ageas, the Brussels- based internat ional insurer, holds the remainder. Maybank Ageas owns various Etiqa units.

Maybank and Etiqa had no immediate response to Reuters’ queries and Ageas declined to comment.

As part of the transaction, Maybank’s investors will receive shares in the insurance company in proportion to their existing holding in the bank, the sources said, adding that no new money is expected to be raised in the listing.

Maybank, Etiqa and Ageas have appointed investment banks for the spinoff, said the sources, who declined to be identified as news of the listing is not public.

“The listing will help Maybank unlock value and get higher valuations,” said a source, adding that Maybank aims to list the insurance business later this year.