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Tue 14 Feb 2012 08:14 AM

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Abu Dhabi fund eyes $1.3bn Malaysia bank stake sale

Aabar Investments' 25 percent holding in RHB has dropped in value by about a third

Abu Dhabi fund eyes $1.3bn Malaysia bank stake sale
Aabar Chief Executive Mohamed al-Husseiny

An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund is exploring the sale of its $1.3bn stake in Malaysian lender RHB Capital Bhd, six months after buying the shares, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The fund had engaged in early talks with Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC), they said.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Aabar Investments' 25 percent holding in RHB has dropped in value by about a third since it bought the stake for $1.9bn last year from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC. Sources say Aabar has sounded out potential buyers of the stake, including SMBC.

The sources said the talks with SMBC were preliminary and it was unclear whether the discussions would lead to a transaction.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank paid $1.23bn for the stake in 2008 and sold it to Aabar in June of last year after a competitive auction that involved several suitors.

Repeated calls to Aabar Chief Executive Mohamed al-Husseiny were not returned. An SMBC spokesman declined comment. RHB Group Managing Director Kellee Kam said he could not comment on the matter.

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