DBS mulls joining race to acquire Bank Permata Indonesia

FILE PHOTO: A DBS bank signage is pictured in Singapore September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

DBS Group Holdings Ltd. is considering joining the race to acquire PT Bank Permata, the Indonesian lender in which Standard Chartered Plc holds a stake, according to people familiar with the matter.

Singapore-based DBS is working with an adviser on the possibility of bidding for Permata, which has a market value of about $2.4 billion, said the people, asking not be identified as the discussions are private.

Such a move would pit DBS against both its Singaporean competitor Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and Tokyo-based Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., which are also interested in acquiring the Indonesian bank, Bloomberg has reported. Standard Chartered and PT Astra International each own 45% stakes in Permata.

The DBS deliberations are ongoing and may not result in a bid, the people said. Final offers are due in about a month, they added.

A representative for DBS declined to comment.

Shares of Permata jumped as much as 3.9% on Wednesday afternoon in Jakarta to the highest level since February. DBS slipped 0.4% in Singapore.

Second Attempt

If the bid moves ahead, it would be DBS’s second attempt to acquire a substantial Indonesian bank. In 2013, it was forced to abandon a $6.5 billion bid to take over PT Bank Danamon Indonesia after a change in the rules on foreign ownership. Danamon was acquired earlier this year by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.

Since losing out on Danamon, DBS Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta has stressed expanding the bank’s reach via digital services, more than purchasing other lenders with large branch networks.

However, Gupta said in September he remains open to “bolt-on” acquisitions if they fit with a strategy of augmenting digital services with a physical presence.

“In addition to a fundamentally digital presence, we are beginning to figure you need some points of presence for the time being to create brand credibility and to service the last mile,” Gupta said at the time.

As of June, Permata had 317 branches serving more than 2 million customers in 62 Indonesian cities.

Bloomberg