Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thai Finance Minister offers government shares of TMB Bank to foreign bidders

Thai Fin Min says no formal bid for its TMB stake

08.20.09, 04:08 AM EDT

BANGKOK, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Thailand's finance ministry has not received any formal bid for its 22.56 percent stake in listed TMB Bank but would be prepared to consider a proposal, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij said on Thursday.

'All I have said is that the Finance Ministry is prepared to consider any proposal to buy its stake in the bank but there has been no formal approach,' Korn told Reuters in an interview.

Shares in TMB shot up around 43 percent in hectic trading between Aug. 7 and 17, taking the stock to its highest in a year, on speculation the government would sell its stake to the bank's major shareholder, Dutch financial group ING ( ING - news -people ).

ING has a stake of 26.4 percent in TMB and a further 5.2 percent in non-voting shares.

An earlier government agreement with ING gives the Dutch bank the right to buy a bigger stake under certain conditions. ING has declined to comment on the speculation.

(Reporting by Vithoon Amorn; Editing by Alan Raybould) Keywords: THAILAND BANK/MINISTER

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