AmBank engages recruitment agency to find new managing director

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 22): AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank Group) has engaged an international recruitment agency to help it find suitable candidates to fill the top post left vacant by its former group managing director (MD) Ashok Ramamurthy.

"The search for the group MD is not done by me, but by the board members which is progressing," acting group MD Datuk Mohamed Azmi Mahmood told a media briefing to announce the group's financial results for the year ended March 31, 2015 (FY15) here today.

Asked if the candidate could be a foreigner seeing that the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) is the largest shareholder of AmBank Group with 23.7% stake, Mohamed Azmi said he does not know.

"To be fair, it is up to the committee and we will leave it to them (to decide)," he said.

Mohamed Azmi assured that it was "business as usual" at AmBank Group and that it has sound asset quality and capital position.

Mohamed Azmi was appointed to his current post after Ashok's contract as MD ended on April 1, 2015.

AmBank Group chief financial officer (CFO) Mandy Simpson said the board has engaged an international external recruitment agency and that it was working through the agency to find a suitable candidate for the position.

Mandy also said AmBank Group is expecting loan growth to be between 4% and 5% for FY16. For FY15, it saw loans contracted by 1.6% due to the the decline in its auto-financing loans that was down by almost 11%.

Although auto-financing is expected to be broadly flat for FY16, she is optimistic that the loan growth can come from wholesale segment through the small-medium enterprise sector as well as commercial business including growth in mortgages.

Earlier today, AmBank (fundamental: 1.7; valuation: 3) in a filing with Bursa Malaysia reported that its net profit rose 12% to RM519.22 million for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2015 (4QFY15) from RM463.71 million a year earlier. Profit grew mainly on bad loan allowance write-backs.

Revenue for 4QFY15 was lower at RM2.22 billion from RM2.44 billion a year ago.

For the 12 months period, net profit grew 7.6% to RM1.92 billion from RM1.78 billion a year ago, but revenue was down to RM9.14 billion from RM9.61 billion.

AmBank Group shares closed unchanged at RM6.37 today, for a market value of RM19.08 billion.

(Note: The Edge Research's fundamental score reflects a company’s profitability and balance sheet strength, calculated based on historical numbers. The valuation score determines if a stock is attractively valued or not, also based on historical numbers. A score of 3 suggests strong fundamentals and attractive valuations.)