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KASIKORNBANK considering bank acquisitions in Indonesia

KASIKORNBANK PCL is considering acquiring banks in Indonesia, but may face challenges doing so due to the country's rules on foreign ownership of local banks, The Nation reported Jan. 19, citing the bank's president, Pipit Aneaknithi.

The Thai bank sees potential in the Indonesian market and is prepared in terms of facilities and capital to establish its own footprint there given that it currently has partnerships with two Indonesian banks, Pipit said.

The president added that while the takeover of Indonesian banks was an option, regulations in Indonesia requiring foreign lenders to purchase more than one bank could be an issue. The rules also state that acquisition targets must not be strong institutions.

As market entry via the Qualified Asean Banks, or QAB, scheme is another potential solution for KASIKORNBANK, the Thai lender is interested in applying for QAB status if the scheme's framework is implemented, Pipit said.

KASIKORNBANK has been keen to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia, with plans to open its Cambodian branch on Feb. 8 and its Vientiane branch in Laos later in 2017. The lender is also in the process of upgrading the status of its local bank in China.