By Sumeet Chatterjee
NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Standard Chartered Plc <STAN.L> is “actively working” on options for its stake in Indonesia’s PT Bank Permata tbk <BNLI.JK>, the British lender’s Chief Executive Bill Winters said on Saturday.
StanChart and Indonesian conglomerate PT Astra International <ASII.JK> jointly control the Indonesia bank, each owning 44.56 percent. There has been persistent speculation in the last few years that the ownership structure of Bank Permata could change.
“It is something we are actively working on … finding a solution for Permata,” Winters told Reuters on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
“But frankly the bank is doing well,” he said. “The bank needed to be fixed up, it’s now fixed up. Now we can talk about what we need to do.”
StanChart reported a $215 million loss in 2016 from its stake in Permata, due to rising bad loans and restructuring costs. The lender’s financial performance has improved since then, however.
Winters also said that StanChart, which makes the bulk of its revenue in Asia, is adding more people and investing more in bolstering the infrastructure of its wealth management business, which, he said, was the bank’s fastest growing business.
StanChart counts the Asian wealth hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore as its biggest wealth management markets, and Winters said there were opportunities to increase its market share in China, India and the rest of Southeast Asia.
The number of high net-worth individuals – or those with at least $1 million to invest – rose by 12 percent last year in Asia Pacific, exceeding growth rates anywhere else in the world, according to CapGemini.
(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Clelia Oziel)