Singapore, Chinese, Australian banks eye Hong Kong's Wing Hang Bank

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) is considering tabling a bid for Hong Kong-based Wing Hang Bank Ltd, which has a market value of HK$35.7 billion ($4.6 billion), Bloomberg today reported citing people familiar with the matter.

Last month, Wing Hang Bank said that its largest shareholders had been approached with an offer for its sale.

Wing Hang's chairman Patrick Fung's family, affiliates, and Bank of New York Mellon, together hold about 45 per cent of the shares.

Reuters had yesterday reported that Agricultural Bank of China Ltd and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd are also considering a bid for Wing Hang Bank.

Wing Hang Bank was founded in 1937 in Guangzhou as a money changer. After the Second World War it re-established itself in Hong Kong and was granted a banking licence in 1960.

In 1973, the Irving Trust Company of New York purchased a majority interest in the Bank and in 1988 Irving Trust merged with The Bank of New York Group (now The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation) to become the 10th largest bank in the US.

Wing Hang Bank was publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1973 and went on to acquire Chekiang First Bank in 2004 and Inchroy Credit Corporation in 2007.

As at 30 June 2013, Wing Hang has total assets of over HK$201.1 billion and has 70 branches spread across Hong Kong, Macau and China.

Agricultural Bank of China is the country's fourth-biggest lender, while OCBC is Singapore's third-biggest bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group is Australia's fourth-largest bank.