RHBCap still in the dark about Aabar subscription to RM2.5bil rights issue


KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Capital Bhd (RHBCap) is still in the dark about whether one of its major shareholders, Aabar Investments PJS, will be subscribing to its portion of the banking and financial services group’s RM2.5bil rights issue.

Its chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli said it was “premature” to say that the fund from Abu Dhabi would not be participating.

“We don’t know what their decision is, so we will wait until the book closure happens.

“At the moment, it is premature to say that they will not participate because there are still many weeks to go before the book closure date,” he told reporters after an event here.

Asked what would be the next move if the shareholder decided not to subscribe, he said they had underwriters arranged for the shares which were not undertaken.

“So as far as we are concerned, we should get our money still, and that is the key thing,” he said.

In April, RHBCap announced a rights issue to raise RM2.5bil.

Reuters reported that the Abu Dhabi fund might refuse to invest in the rights issue partly because it was disappointed by the performance of its investment in RHB and “in a sign of disappointment among Gulf investors with economic and political instability in Malaysia”.

RHBCap has now deferred the implementation of the rights issue by almost two months following an announcement of restrictions in Aabar’s shareholding.

Earlier this month, RHBCap, in a filing to the stock exchange, said that the central bank had ordered a cap on the voting rights of Aabar in RHB Cap to 15%.

It was also revealed that RHBCap is prohibited from issuing more than 15% of new shares to Aabar, which currently has a 21.09% stake in RHB Cap.

However, it was reported that regardless of the 15% restriction, Aabar was reluctant to buy any rights.

Khairussaleh was speaking to reporters after the launch of RHBCap’s partnership with Startupbootcamp FinTech, an accelerator for start-up financial technology (FinTech) companies.

Through the partnership, RHBCap will provide funding, mentorship and guidance to a start-up companies in a three-month programme.

In his speech, Khairussaleh said the move was in line with the banking group’s digital strategy to collaborate with innovative FinTech start-ups.

“This partnership provides RHB the opportunity to nurturenew FinTech ifeas and spur innovation within the financial services industry. Instead of merely leveraging on innovation for internal use within the group, this will give us the platform to contribute towards accelerated digital adoption in the financial services industry,” he said.

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