KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Public Bank jumped in early Wednesday trade, rising to a high of RM20.10 after it proposed a historic four-for-one bonus issue to reward its shareholders and to enhance the trading liquidity of the shares. At 9.11am, it was up RM1.20 to RM19.66. There were 3.57 million shares done at prices ranging from RM19.28 to RM20.10. Public Bank underpinned the FBM KLCI’s climb of 8.92 points or 0.55% to 1,640.62. Turnover on Bursa Malaysia was 1.06 billion shares valued at RM580.98mil. There were 325 gainers, 291 losers and 380 counters unchanged. Maybank Investment Bank Research said Public Bank’s proposed bonus issue is the first since 2003. “What is positive is that it takes the bank’s share price down to less than RM4, which would appeal to retail investors, while further enhancing liquidity on a stock that is already very liquid. “We maintain our HOLD call and our TP of RM18.80, pegged to a FY21 PBV of 1.5 times, supported by a ROE of 11.8%,” it said. AmInvestment Research kept its Hold recommendation on Public Bank. Its fair value is unchanged at RM17.70/share, pegging the stock to FY21 P/BV of 1.4 times, supported by an ROE of 10.7%. “The entitlement date is yet to be determined. Upon the targeted completion of the proposed bonus issue by 1Q2021, its number of shares will be enlarged to 19,410.7mil from 3,882.1mil. “There will not be any capitalisation of reserves for the issuance of the bonus shares. The total share capital will remain unchanged at RM9.4bil. Hence, our projected FY21 ROE stays at 10.7%,” it said.
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