HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Nepali financial sector will witness a merger between two commercial banks for the first time with the merger of NIC Bank and Bank of Asia Nepal (BoAN).
NIC Bank and BoAN signed a memorandum of understanding today to pursue the merger which is expected to be concluded by mid-January 2013. "Both the banks had been looking for a partner to merge with in both international and domestic banks but talks did not lead anywhere," informed chief executive of NIC Bank Sashin Joshi.
He stressed that after the merger, the merged entity will be one of the largest commercial banks with the highest capital base exceeding Rs five billion. "This is first time that any two strong class 'A' financial institutions are going to merge, and the increased capital base will allow the bank to finance large projects on its own," he added. The banks will apply for a Letter of Intent (LoI) at Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) and after obtaining the LoI they will conduct Due Diligence Audit that will determine the share swap ratio between the banks.
The banks have yet to decide on the name after the merger. After the merger, the bank will have 65 branches and 69 ATMs with 36 branches of NIC and 37 branches of BoAN in operation. Likewise, its customer base will exceed 225,000 with total deposits of Rs 34 billion and loans worth Rs 28 billion. "The merged bank will have about 90,000 shareholders
and 800 employees," according to Joshi. "The bank will strive to retain all its employees as the expansion of the bank will require more manpower," Joshi added.
The banks have already corresponded with Nepal Stock Exchange to halt trading to avoid any manipulation of share prices. NIC's shares were traded at Rs 486 and BoAN shares were traded at Rs 237 at the stock exchange today. BoAN earned a profit of Rs 117 million and NIC earned Rs 263 million by the third quarter of the current fiscal year.
Since the last couple of years, NRB has been encouraging financial institutions to consolidate as the Nepali financial system is not large enough to allow space for more than 200 financial institutions to conduct business without stepping on each other's toes. Due to the central bank's insistence on mergers, there are more than 26 financial institutions that have formally applied for an approval to merge from NRB.
The central bank has already given LoI to eight sets of financial institutions with six more to go. Most of the financial institutions seeking mergers belong to class 'C' and 'B' categories. Among the commercial banks in the country, Machchhapuchhre Bank is opting for
a merger with Standard Finance, and Global Bank's merger with IME Financial Institution and Lord Buddha Finance is almost complete.
Global IME Bank to start soon
KATHMANDU: The merged entity of Global Bank, IME Financial Institution and Lord Buddha Finance will start operations as Global IME Bank from July 9, according to the bank. After the merger, the bank will have a paid-up capital of around Rs 2.20 billion and will be able to fulfill the central bank's regulation. The merger was granted final approval last week. The bank and IME Financial Institution being promoted by IME Group was asked by the central bank to opt for a merger as it will be easier and send a positive message in the market.