August 25, 2011 / 1:31 AM / 8 years ago

Malaysia's Maybank may buy Thai retail bank-report

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Maybank , Malaysia’s top lender, may buy a retail bank in Thailand to grow its business in Southeast Asia, Bloomberg reported quoting the bank’s chief executive.

Wahid Omar said Maybank wants to earn 40 percent of its operating profit from outside Malaysia by 2015 and aimed to be present in the region’s major markets by then.

“Thailand is one noticeable gap,” Wahid was quoted as telling Bloomberg in an interview. “It will involve an acquisition at the right time, right price and right circumstances.”

He said Maybank would boost its commercial banking business in Thailand through an acquisition although it was not “actively scouting”.

The lender had earlier acquired Singapore brokerage Kim Eng Holdings and also has operations in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Maybank had planned to bid for rival RHB , Malaysia’s fifth-largest lender, but scrapped the plan after Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank sold its 25 percent stake in RHB to Aabar Investment at 10.80 ringgit.

Analysts said the deal had set a high valuation bar for any potential merger. (Reporting by Liau Y-Sing; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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