Monday, April 19, 2010

Primus statement on EON CAPITAL

Primus Pacific Partners (“Primus”) today issued the following statement in relation to its position as a long-term and fully committed shareholder of EON Capital Berhad (“EON Capital”). Primus also wants to express its appreciation to and voice its whole-hearted support for the management team and staff of EON Capital who have and will continue to lead the bank through a highly successful landmark transformation project over a challenging period. In addition, Primus expresses its belief that a great future lies ahead for the EON Capital franchise, as the carefully considered investments that have been made over the last two years are yielding very strong results.

“We are a proud and fully committed shareholder of EON Capital. We have been honored to work shoulder to shoulder with the respected management team of EON Capital, who over the last two years have led one of the most successful transformations in the Malaysian banking industry, resulting in:
• Growing, high-quality earnings - 155% increase in net profits during 2009
• A clean and well capitalized balance sheet
• Capital strength to grow lending business and provide value- added products and services

EON Capital is today among the most innovative banks in Malaysia with a strong brand and extensive branch distribution network. The management team is supported by the 6,000 highly motivated and well-trained professionals.

While EON Capital has laid a strong foundation for the future, as experienced international investors in the financial services industry, we understand the drive towards consolidation. It is in the long-term interest of the Malaysian banking industry to build and develop larger and stronger domestic banks. We support smart combinations of complementary organizations that result in a balanced franchise that provides ongoing long term benefits to all stakeholders. If such a partnership opportunity presents itself, tremendous value can be unlocked by a focus on growing the business, not cutting costs, by creating market leading positions, and continuing to leverage on the experience, strength and resources of shareholders, management teams and staff of both organizations. As experienced international investors, we strongly believe that we can contribute and play an important ongoing active role in such a process.

As far back as our approval to commence negotiations on the acquisition of our shareholding in EON Capital in July 2007, we indicated our long-term commitment to the Malaysian banking industry and our desire to make a valuable contribution to EON Capital and its businesses. Today, we remain as committed to EON Capital as we were three years ago. We have always stood ready to provide the necessary resources and technical expertise to EON Capital in whatever form is required and have always indicated our financial strength and capabilities in this regard to all stakeholders of EON Capital.

We are long-term investors, seeking to create long-term value for all stakeholders through improvements in operations, corporate governance and long-term financial performance. We are shareholders in highly successful financial services organizations across Asia, including New China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., the fourth largest life insurance company in the People’s Republic of China, and we have continued to contribute capital and resources to our investment companies throughout the challenging conditions of the global financial crisis over the past two years. Primus has not sold and is not planning to sell any of its shareholdings in any of its investment companies, as we believe all of our companies are well positioned to take advantage of the long-term economic growth prospects in the Asia Pacific region.

We believe this is especially true for EON Capital, given the strength of the Malaysian economic recovery, the health of the financial services industry and the strong platform that we have created, which, together with its strong capital base, provides excellent opportunities to continue to grow our business.

We are privileged to be supported by deep-pocketed investors, some of whom rank among the most prominent and reputable institutions in the world, including the Qatar Investment Authority, the largest and highest level investment company in Qatar; the Kuwait Investment Authority, the largest and most prestigious investment company in Kuwait; and the Tsai Family, the controlling shareholders of Fubon Financial, one of the largest financial services conglomerates in Asia.

Primus is on track with its long-term objective of building a global financial services holding company, with investments around the globe in leading banking, insurance, brokerage, advisory and wealth management businesses. The global financial services holding company will make long-term investments and have unparalleled capital strength.

Primus Financial Holdings' recent agreement to acquire AIG’s life insurance business in Taiwan for US$2.15 billion in October 2009 is a demonstration of the height and depth of Primus’ goal. The agreement involved the acquisition of one of the largest life insurance companies in Taiwan with assets exceeding US$46 billion and close to 8 million customers. In April 2010, Primus Financial Holdings also announced an agreement to acquire Chapdelaine & Co., a leading US-based brokerage business, which will serve as a springboard for global growth aspirations. Similarly strategic investments are expected to be announced in the near future.

As we continue to broaden our family of investment companies, our commitment to EON Capital remains strong. We look forward to continue our full support of EON Capital, its management team and its employees.”

About Primus Pacific Partners:
Primus Pacific Partners is the largest principal investment firm in the Asia-Pacific region with a singular focus on making investments into financial services companies. Primus Pacific is based in Hong Kong and focuses primarily on Greater China (the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), Malaysia and Thailand. Primus Pacific, the first of its kind with such particular industry and geographic focus, is a highly experienced active investor with a long-term commitment to helping build and expand market leading financial services franchises.

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