Taiwan finance minister asks Mega, First to study merger plans

TAIPEI, March 5 Tue Mar 4, 2014 8:44pm EST

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TAIPEI, March 5 (Reuters) - Taiwan's finance ministry said on Wednesday it has asked Mega Financial Holdings and First Financial Holdings to evaluate the possibility of merging with other state-run rivals.

Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford told lawmakers he expects an initial outcome in the next two to four months.

The Taiwan government is encouraging a consolidation among state-run banks, which together own about 50 percent of shares in the over-crowded banking market. (Reporting by Jeanny Kao; Writing by Michael Gold; Editing by Paul Tait)