ANZ offloads Shanghai bank stake

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SYDNEY: ANZ Bank Tuesday agreed to sell its stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank for Aus$1.84 billion (US$1.32 billion) as it continues to offload Asian assets as part of a restructure.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said Chinese shipping giant COSCO and Shanghai Sino-Poland Enterprise would each take 10 percent of its 20 percent holding.

The move is part of the bank simplifying its business, having announced the sale in October of its retail and wealth management arms in five Asian countries to Singapore’s DBS.

“As we have previously stated, the sale reflects our strategy to simplify our business and improve capital efficiency,” said ANZ deputy chief executive Graham Hodges.

“The sale will also allow us to focus our resources on our institutional banking business in Asia.”

All of Australia’s big banks are battling higher funding costs, lower interest margins and rising bad-debt charges, with ANZ aiming to not only have a simpler business but become better capitalised.

In announcing the sale of its retail and wealth management arms in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia, ANZ said it would allow it to better focus on corporate and institutional clients in Asia.

The sale of its Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank stake is subject to regulatory approvals, with ANZ’s share price up 1.55 percent at Aus$30.88 at midday.

AFP

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