Affin Bank shareholders give the nod to AHAM divestment

Affin president and group chief executive officer Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah Wan Ali

KUALA LUMPUR: Affin Bank Bhd shareholders have given the nod to the proposed divestment of seven million shares, or 63 per cent equity interest, in Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd (AHAM) by Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd to Starlight Asset Sdn Bhd for RM1.417 billion.

President and group chief executive officer Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah said the divestment exercise, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year, would result in a gain of RM1.063 billion and the bulk of it would be reinvested in the bank’s core banking business.

ALSO READ: Affin Bank gets MoF’s nod to sell AALI and AAGI

"We want to accelerate the organic growth. Gains from the divestment will be invested into the bank and assuming at 10 times multiplier, it will generate additional income of RM190 million net interest income or about RM142 million after-tax over two years.

"It would also improve the group’s CET1 (Common Equity Tier 1) to circa 16 per cent and total capital of circa 24 per cent after dividend to support the group’s future growth and recalibration of market capitalisation,” he told reporters after the bank’s annual general meeting and extraordinary general meeting here today.

He said the proceeds would also help to fuel about RM5 billion to RM6 billion loan growth per annum, enhance customer experience and complete an insurance deal to make it the second-largest general insurance company in Malaysia.

ALSO READ: Affin Bank committed towards digitalisation

Meanwhile, Wan Razly said Affin Islamic also saw a significant turnaround and has become a major contributor to the Affin group with new products introduced in 2021 including A1ADDIN, a new digital banking proposition, and AffinMax Corporate internet banking app.

He said the bank is committed to improve its asset quality through recoveries whilst at the same time, increasing its loan loss reserve and coverage.

On the overnight policy rate, it said the increase of the rate by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is expected to taper banks’ loan growth.

ALSO READ: Affin Banking to transfer stake in Affin Hwang AM

However, he said there are still opportunities for financing and growth with a positive gross domestic product growth and riding on the pandemic recovery.

On the digital bank licences, he said it would put pressure on the market, especially the traditional banks.

He said for Affin, this would come in terms of rising cost in deposits and war in talents.

On dividend, he said the bank is expected to declare a special dividend following the divestment gains which is expected to be announced by end of this year.

However, the amount has yet to be decided by the board members and approved by BNM.

The bank today declared a 12.5 sen dividend per share, its highest in seven years. - Bernama

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