Magazine article American Banker

Bold Chase and BT Consider Boosting Investments in Asia

Magazine article American Banker

Bold Chase and BT Consider Boosting Investments in Asia

Article excerpt

Undeterred by ongoing political and economic turmoil in Asia, Chase Manhattan Corp. is planning to step up equity investments in the region, and so reportedly is Bankers Trust Corp.

Chase's plans come as U.S. banks and other large investors hope to take advantage of low prices in Asia to make outright purchases of local financial institutions, buy smaller equity stakes in such companies, or boost asset management.

Chase has so far directed many of its overseas equity investments to Latin America rather than Asia. However, a Chase spokesman confirmed that his bank's institutional equity investment unit, Chase Capital Partners, plans to increase investments in Asia to about $1 billion over the next five years, from around $150 million today.

In a similar move, Bankers Trust is setting up an Asian fund for investors, according to news reports. A spokesman for the banking company confirmed that it is considering investments in Asia but declined to give details.

Officials at Bankers Trust were unavailable for comment on a report by Bloomberg News, which said the fund could eventually invest $1 billion.

Corporate asset prices as well as real estate prices have plummeted across Asia in the wake of a spreading crisis in Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan. The crisis has prompted foreign and domestic banks to sharply curtail lending in the region, forcing local companies to raise funds by selling equity.

At the same time, the decline in prices has attracted rising interest from foreign banks and institutional investors chasing bargains. …

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