RHB Bank was the third top loser on Bursa Malaysia yesterday after shedding 16 sen or 2.74% to RM5.69, dragging the FBM KLCI down by a point. PETALING JAYA: Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS has officially exited RHB Bank Bhd after disposing of its remaining 4.23% stake. The fund sold the entire 169.52 million shares throughout the whole day yesterday, at RM5.50 according to market data, which would value the block at RM932.38mil. The sale of the shares through direct business transaction was completed at 4.34pm. RHB Bank was the third top loser on Bursa Malaysia yesterday after shedding 16 sen or 2.74% to RM5.69, dragging the FBM KLCI down by a point. The benchmark index rose 11.28 points to 1,674.02 points yesterday. Maybank IB Research said it viewed Aabar’s disposal as positive, as it cleared the final overhand on the stock. It estimated Aabar’s total proceeds from all four placements to be about RM3.8bil. This excluded the dividends that Aabar would have received over the years from RHB Bank. Aabar is a sister company of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), which in turn is a unit of sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. Mubadala’s entry into RHB Bank started in May 2008 at RM7.20 per share where it forked out RM3.88bil for a 25% block of the bank in a transaction booked at 2.3 times the book value. It was the second-highest valued banking transaction at that time. The person who mediated the entry of Aabar into RHB Bank was fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho. Aabar first emerged as a substantial shareholder in RHB Bank in 2011 after it bought a 24.9% stake in the bank from ADCB. It was reported that Aabar paid RM10.80 a share, or 2.2 times book value, for the shares in RHB Bank. The stake was later diluted to 17.7% in 2016 because the fund did not take up the rights shares issued by RHB Bank. In August 2018, it sold 120.3 million shares at RM5.12 per share, netting an estimated RM615.9mil. Aabar’s stake came down to about 14.5% after the August disposal. In March last year, it disposed of another 3% or 191 million shares in RHB Bank for RM1.05bil, also via a book-building. Aabar ceased to be a substantial shareholder in RHB Bank in June last year after its sold another block that brought down its shareholding in the bank to less than 5%. The Employees Provident Fund is currently the largest shareholder in RHB Bank with a 42.86% stake. Maybank IB maintained its “buy” call on the counter with a higher target price of RM6.70, pegged to a higher price-to-book value of 0.9 times to account for improved liquidity and sentiment. It said RHB Bank has the highest CET1 ratios among its domestic peers at 16% at the group level and 14.1% at the bank level as at end-March 2020. “These ratios place the bank in a strong position to weather through the presently volatile economic environment both domestically and abroad. “The banking sector is being used as a transmission mechanism for government stimulus programmes under Covid-19 relief schemes, in particular the six-month loan moratorium from April to September 2020, elevating social priorities over shareholders returns in the near term, ” the research house said. It added that the bank displayed no exceptional risks not typical of a large bank for environmental, social and governance. “The group’s earnings are principally driven by its domestic operations and to a smaller extent its nine branches in Singapore while regional contributions are relatively insignificant at this stage. “This domestic concentration reduces its overall environment and corporate governance issues, in our view, ” Maybank IB said.
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