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Deutsche advises caution over Malaysia e-payment firm it helped list

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Deutsche Bank has advised investor caution about shares in MOL Global Inc a day after it issued a buy recommendation for the Malaysian online payment firm it helped go public almost two months ago.

[SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR] Deutsche Bank has advised investor caution about shares in MOL Global Inc a day after it issued a buy recommendation for the Malaysian online payment firm it helped go public almost two months ago.

The warning by Deutsche analysts on Friday came after shares in MOL fell 54 per cent after it said in a stock exchange filing that it would delay earnings, and announced its chief financial officer was leaving.

MOL, majority owned by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan and the sultan of the southern state of Johor, did not provide further details about its stock plunge. Company executives on Monday did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Deutsche analysts called MOL's sudden announcement "potentially ominous" in their note. "Although, we maintain our long term positive view and buy on MOL... We are concerned with what factors might have driven both of these material developments," they added.

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Deutsche analysts declined to comment further on the report on Monday, citing the investment bank's Asia policy of not speaking to the media about individual stocks.

In October, MOL became the first Malaysian company to be listed in the United States after a US$170 million initial public offering, which came weeks after the US listing of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and UBS were joint book runners of the MOL deal, which has so far brought little financial gain to its major shareholders.

Lack of investor interest drove the company to cut the size of the deal by around 30 per cent and price the shares at the bottom of the range. The stock has also tumbled 67 per cent since its listing, and is now worth around US$276 million.

The sultan of Johor bought a 15 per cent stake in MOL's operating unit, MOL AccessPortal Sdn Bhd, for US$120 million earlier this year which he later exchanged for a 14.7 per cent interest in MOL.

MOL, also known as Money Online, is the largest e-payment company in Southeast Asia by payment volume, according to market researchers Frost & Sullivan. Investors expect the company to benefit from the Malaysian government's push to drive e-payments in preparation for a new consumption tax next year.

REUTERS

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