Bank Negara green lights HNA stake in Deutsche Malaysian arm

The HNA Group logo is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

China’s HNA Group Co. has received clearance from the Malaysian central bank for its indirect stake in Deutsche Bank AG’s subsidiary in the Southeast Asian country, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Bank Negara Malaysia had no objections that HNA now indirectly owns just under 10 percent of Deutsche Bank Malaysia Bhd., a fully-owned subsidiary of the German bank, through the Chinese conglomerate’s stake in Deutsche Bank AG, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Bank Negara said it doesn’t comment on individual financial institutions. Spokesmen for Deutsche Bank and HNA declined to comment.

HNA built up its holding in Deutsche Bank to just under 10 percent as of May, making it the lender’s biggest single shareholder. The Chinese firm has since come under intense scrutiny thanks to allegedly opaque ownership structure, concerns about its indebtedness and a Chinese clampdown on foreign investment.

German, British and Irish authorities have already given similar approvals for HNA’s indirect interest in Deutsche Bank’s local businesses in those nations. HNA still faces potential regulatory scrutiny from the European Central Bank’s banking supervisory arm and the Swiss takeover authorities.

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