October 1, 2019 / 6:59 AM / 19 days ago

Prudential's Eastspring buys second Thai asset manager to boost growth

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Prudential Plc’s (PRU.L) Asian asset management unit Eastspring Investments is buying 50.1% of Thanachart Fund Management Co. Ltd. (TFUND) for 4.21 billion baht ($137.5 million), just a year after entering the Thai mutual fund market via an acquisition.

Eastspring is buying the stakes from Thanachart Bank Pcl (TBANK) and Government Savings Bank. It has an option to raise ownership in the Thai asset manager to 100% in the future.

“The acquisition of TFUND not only complements our existing business but allows us to accelerate our growth and extend our presence in this dynamic market,” Nic Nicandrou, CEO of Prudential Corporation Asia, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Thailand is one of the largest and fastest-growing asset management markets in Southeast Asia, supported by an expanding middle class, rising affluence and regulatory changes.

The move comes amid Prudential’s plans to focus on Asia and the United States and spin off its UK and European insurance and asset management business M&G.

In July 2018, Eastspring agreed to buy 65% of TMB Asset Management (TMBAM) from Thai TMB Bank Pcl (TMB.BK).

TFUND is the eighth-largest mutual fund manager in Thailand. TFUND and TMBAM Eastspring will become the fourth-largest asset manager in Thailand with a market share of 12% and combined assets under management of 653 billion baht, the companies said.

The deal’s completion is conditional upon regulatory approval and the acquisition of TBANK by TMB Bank, among other things. Last month, the two banks agreed to create the country’s sixth-largest lender through a merger.

Reporting by Anshuman Daga

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