The CEO of StanChart’s SE Asian operations said recently that Standard Chartered had no plans to spend the proceeds of a £3.3bn (US$5.3bn) rights issue on a significant acquisition in Asia. The bank planned to expand in the region largely through organic growth, rather than acquisitions.
The bank was not looking for any “transformational transactions” in SE Asia, although it might seek to acquire small businesses specialising in sectors or products that would add to its operations.
This would rule out a bid for DBS. Many had speculated (self included) that the bank might be preparing to spend part of the rights issue proceeds on a large acquisition. A very few (self included) speculated that DBS was a target, given that DBS is so badly managed and Temasek is a controlling shareholder in both.
DBS reminds me of StanChart in the 70s and 80s, when the latter got almost everything wrong. Only in the 90s did it get its act together. For younger readers, in the 60s Hongkong Bank and StanChart were roughly the same size, even though the former was already the leading bank in HK.
Standard Chartered bought two smallish S’pore-based businesses
— an aircraft leasing business in 2008; and
— a small factoring business earlier this year.
In 2008, it bot the private banking business of American Express in £430m.