Taiwan-based Cathay Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holdings, is preparing to increase its ownership of PT Bank Mayapada Internasional (Bank Mayapada), the bank’s executive says. 

The publicly listed insurance company now owns 37.33 percent of Bank Mayapada, making it the bank’s biggest shareholder, followed by PT Mayapada Karunia Corporation, which owns 26.42 percent of the total shares. 

“Cathay Life insurance is one of the controlling shareholders of Bank Mayapada at the moment. They do have a desire to increase their ownership as part of their long-term strategy,” Bank Mayapada president director Hariyono Tjahjarijadi told The Jakarta Post on Monday. 

“In regard to the number of shares, what the composition of ownership will look like and when, are still being prepared by Cathay.”

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The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has reportedly given Cathay the green light to acquire 51 percent of the bank’s shares or more, which will make Cathay majority shareholder.

“Cathay is doing its due diligence right now,” OJK deputy commissioner for banking supervision Slamet Edy Purnomo told tempo.co on Sunday. “As long as it has a commitment to better bank development, Cathay is a major company that doesn’t need to be doubted anymore.”

The OJK has not responded to the Post’s request for comment at the time of writing.

Hariyono hinted that Bank Mayapada would be upgrading to a BUKU IV bank, or banks with a core capital of over Rp 30 trillion (US$2.08 billion), upon completion of the deal. The bank is now in the BUKU II category with a core capital between Rp 5 trillion and Rp 30 trillion. 

Throughout the year, shareholders have been funneling funds to strengthen the bank’s capital. 

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It received a deposit of Rp 1 trillion by its controlling shareholder in two injections worth Rp 750 billion on July 1 and Rp 252 billion on April 24, according to its statement on July 3 as published by the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX).

PT Mayapada Karunia channeled Rp 230 billion out of the Rp 252 billion in April, while PT Mayapada Kasih funneled Rp 22.09 billion, according to a statement on the IDX website on April 28. 

“The fund placement strengthened [the bank’s] capital and is part of the company’s plan to carry out rights issues in 2020 worth a total of Rp 4.5 trillion,” the bank’s statement says.

A rights issue is usually offered when a company needs to raise capital by offering its shareholders the chance to buy newly issued shares at a discounted price. 

In the first quarter of this year, Bank Mayapada’s net profit plunged by 44.52 percent to Rp 79.22 billion from Rp 142.78 trillion in the same period last year.

Its non-performing loans (NPL) stands at 6.94 percent as of March 31, up from 4.99 percent last year and above the OJK health threshold of 5 percent. The banking industry’s NPL, on the other hand, is at 2.77 percent in March, showing an upward trend as people’s purchasing power declined during the pandemic.

Bank Mayapada’s shares, traded on the IDX under the code MAYA, have lost 28.57 percent of its value as of Monday. Throughout the same period, the finance sector was down by 17.5 percent while the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index declined by 19.61 percent. 

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Aviliani, a senior economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), told the Post on June 12 that foreign banks were attracted to Indonesia’s banking industry for its growth prospects. 

“Investing in developing countries, including Indonesia, is seen to have very big market potential. Secondly, they [foreign entities] see that the profit margin is still quite high,” Aviliani said.

There have been several notable foreign acquisitions of Indonesian banks this year. In June, the OJK confirmed KB Kookmin Bank’s acquisition of Bank Bukopin with a $200 million deposit into an escrow account as part of the South Korean bank’s commitment. In May, Thailand’s Bangkok Bank completed the acquisition of Permata Bank through a $2.3 billion deal. 

Despite falling net interest margins (NIM), Indonesia’s banking industry’s NIM was still considered attractive relative to countries in the region, she added. According to OJK data, Indonesia’s NIM was at 4.57 percent in April. Meanwhile, Bank Mayapada’s NIM was recorded lower at 3.03 percent as of March 31, a significant downfall from 6.78 percent booked last year.