Maybank won’t stop with its intended acquisition of broker Kim Eng, according to analysts, and will likely continue its march into Southeast Asia by buying a Thai bank sometime soon.

Analysts from HwangDBS Vickers Research and RHB Research said a commercial bank in Thailand would be the next “obvious move” for Maybank since it has no current presence there, but the company will need to spend some time looking for potential targets. Although Maybank’s management have denied any further M&A plans in the next 12 months, it has commercial operations in all surrounding countries and Thailand’s huge market represents a glaring gap in its plans to spread throughout Southeast Asia.

Kim Eng is Thailand’s number one broker, with 41 branches. Maybank’s ability to acquire 100% of the company as planned is still uncertain, but it would be a big step towards establishing itself as an investment bank and equities trader in the region. Reactions to the news have been positive so far, with Kim Eng’s shares hitting a record high of S$3.04, just below Maybank’s offer of S$3.10.

source & article: Business Times