KUALA LUMPUR (June 1): RHB Bank and AMMB Holdings have confirmed that they are exploring a merger and that they have obtained approval from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to commence discussions.
With BNM’s approval, the two lenders said they have inked an exclusivity agreement to negotiate and finalise terms and conditions of the proposed merger by Aug 30.
“It is envisaged that the transaction will effectively be an all shares merger,” RHB and AMMB said in a joint statement today.
RHB Bank group managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli said if the proposed merger takes place, it will create greater synergy for the enlarged banking group, benefiting its shareholders, customers, employees and all other stakeholders.
“A merger of RHB Banking Group and AmBank Group will create a stronger fourth largest banking group, creating scale and market leadership across key business segments,” he added.

RHB Bank is currently the country's fourth largest lender among eight domestic banking groups, while AMMB is the sixth.
AMMB group chief executive officer Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said the new chapter that is opening in its history, comes at an opportune time for AMMB, as it has been moving closer to achieving its Top 4 goals.
“I am positive that the proposed merger with RHB Banking Group will create a stronger business and financial presence. Our combined strength in key business segments, particularly in retail and investment banking, will bode well for us, as we move forward to achieve our goal of becoming a formidable banking group,” Sulaiman added.
Yesterday, both RHB and AMMB requested to suspend trading of their shares on Bursa Malaysia, pending material announcement.
“RHB and AMMB shares will resume trading on Bursa tomorrow,” the two banks said.

Shares in AMMB and RHB were last traded at RM5.21 and RM5.39 respectively, for a market capitalisation of RM15.7 billion ($5 billion) and RM21.61 billion.