Is UOB ready to buy in HK?

UOB''s decision to privatize OUT and ICB may signal something much bigger.

Following in the wake of its merger last year with OUB to become Singapore's biggest bank, UOB is set to take private a couple of listed subsidiaries.

The subsidiaries in question are Overseas Union Trust of which it owns 52.86% and Industrial Commercial Bank of which it owns 87.45%. The banks have a collective net asset value of S$1.25 billion and UOB will pay out S$168 million to privatize them and buy out minorities.

ING will act as independent financial advisor to the board, and will give a fairness opinion on the offer.

On the surface, UOB seems to be putting its house in order and tidying up its organization structure, readying for more...

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