Public Bank takes a beating

An unpopular merger plan leads to a market pummelling. Public Bank proponents say investors are thinking too short term.

It's been tough few weeks for one of Malaysias conservative banking groups. Public Bank has taken a ferocious hammering in the market. Its foreign shares slumped 4.3% to M$3.12 today Monday, continuing the slide that began after it first unveiled its merger plans with Hock Hua Bank last June. The problem is in the fine print the banks' intention to merge had been known for a long time, it was the details that shocked investors. Few were prepared to see Public Bank's commercial banking business transferred to another listed unit, or for its foreign shares to be tossed aside, analysts say.

Investors arent happy to see the...

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