KUALA LUMPUR : CIMB GROUP Holdings Bhd , the country's second-largest bank by assets, will raise as much as RM3.55 billion by issuing fresh shares to investors. Trading on the stock was halted yesterday pending the announcement, which came in after the share market closed. "We are delighted to have been able to expeditiously raise such a substantial amount of common equity Tier 1 to bolster our capital position," said CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak . The shares were placed out to foreign and local funds and because of demand, the company increased the issuance to 500 million shares from its initial plan of 400 million new shares. The joint book runners are CIMB Investment Bank , Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse . "The sharp depreciation of the rupiah last year has set back our capital accumulation plan. We have acted decisively to reposition our capital for growth," Nazir added. The rupiah plunged 21 per cent against the US dollar last year, the biggest drop for the currency since 2000. Nazir said the fresh capital puts CIMB in a strong footing to face any future volatility in financial markets. Indonesia accounts for a third CIMB's earnings, AmResearch said in a report last year. For the nine months ended September 30 2013, CIMB reported a record net profit of RM3.5 billion . CIMB's interest in Indonesia is mainly represented via its 97.9 per cent-owned PT Bank CIMB Niaga Tbk , which is Indonesia's fourthlargest bank by assets. AmResearch noted in a report last year that net earnings in the third quarter, if annualised, came in at 11 per cent below forecast and that CIMB Niaga's contribution to group net earnings was estimated at 34 per cent.
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