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Eastspring Investments inks agreement to buy 50.1% of Thai fund manager

PRUDENTIAL'S Asian asset management business Eastspring Investments has signed an agreement to acquire 50.1 per cent of Thanachart Fund Management Co (TFUND) for 4,208 million baht (S$190.3 million), Prudential announced on Monday night.

Eastspring is acquiring a 25.1 per cent stake in TFUND from Thanachart Bank Public Company (TBANK), and acquiring Government Savings Bank's entire 25 per cent stake. Following the acquisition, TBANK's customers will have access to Eastspring's investment solutions.

Completion of the deal is conditional on, among other things, regulatory approval and the acquisition of TBANK by TMB Bank Public Company. The two banks on Aug 8 signed an agreement to merge, which would result in the sixth-biggest bank in Thailand.

"The acquisition of TFUND reinforces Prudential's commitment to the Thai market and complements Eastspring's acquisition of 65 per cent of TMB Asset Management (now TMBAM Eastspring) that was completed in September 2018," said Prudential. Similar to the TMBAM acquisition, Eastspring has an option to increase ownership of TFUND to 100 per cent in the future.

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TFUND is Thailand's eighth-largest mutual fund manager with 212 billion baht of mutual funds under management. Collectively, TFUND and TMBAM Eastspring will be Thailand's fourth-largest asset manager with a 12 per cent market share and a combined assets under management of 653 billion baht.

Said Prudential Corporation Asia chief executive Nic Nicandrou: "Following the de-merger of the group's UK and Europe business, M&GPrudential, Prudential plc will become Asia-led, which means we will be even more focused on meeting the insurance and savings needs of Asian consumers. The acquisition of TFUND not only complements our existing business but allows us to accelerateour growth and extend our presence in this dynamic market."

Prudential shares closed unchanged at US$15 on Monday before the news.