Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp is in talks to sell its stake in United Engineers Ltd, a Singapore property and construction company, to Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, people familiar with the matter said.
The discussions are at an early stage, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private. OCBC, its insurance unit and the bank's founding Lee family together own 34.1% of United Engineers, according to a filing in August last year. Buying more than a 30% stake would trigger a mandatory takeover offer for United Engineers under Singapore rules.
United Engineers has advanced 29% in Singapore trading this year, giving the company a market value of S$1.5 billion ($1.2 billion) as of yesterday's close. Selling the stake would help OCBC, Southeast Asia's second-largest lender, bolster capital after its $5 billion takeover of Hong Kong's Wing Hang Bank Ltd this year.
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