July 14, 2014 / 8:37 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-Malaysia's EPF, RHB hire advisors for bank merger talks-sources

(Adds EPF statement)

By Saeed Azhar and Yantoultra Ngui

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 (Reuters) - Malaysia’s state Employees Provident Fund and RHB Capital have hired investment banks to advise on the country’s biggest banking merger, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Last week Malaysia’s second-biggest bank, CIMB Group , said it has entered into exclusive merger talks with RHB and Malaysia Building Society Bhd that could create a mega Islamic bank.

EPF, which is playing a key role in the merger talks with stakes in the three banks, hired Deutsche Bank, while RHB hired Credit Suisse, the sources said.

EPF owns about 41 percent of RHB, 65 percent of Malaysia Building Society and 14.5 percent of CIMB.

EPF was previously working with Goldman Sachs to consider various options for its stake in RHB, Reuters previously reported. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

For Deutsche, the EPF mandate comes close on the heels of a plum mandate from state fund 1MDB’s planned $3 billion plus IPO. The German bank has been gaining ground in Malaysia after it hired former Goldman Sachs’ banker Yusof Yaacob as head of corporate banking and securities earlier this year.

The sources declined to be identified because the information is not public.

An EPF spokesman said “at this point of time, we have not appointed any third party to advise the EPF for this proposed merger.”

RHB officials were not available to comment, while Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse declined to comment. (Editing by Matt Driskill)

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