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One of Australia's big four' banks sells Asian retail banking network

Xinhua, October 31, 2016 Adjust font size:

The Australia New Zealand (ANZ) Banking Group has announced that it has sold its Asian retail banking operations.

The sale, announced from ANZ's headquarters in Melbourne, marked the most significant rollback of the bank's expansion into Asia since former CEO Mike Smith announced the ambitious endeavour in 2009.

Singapore's DBS Bank has bought ANZ's retail operations in the region for a price that both sides agree is 83 million US dollars above market price.

Despite the seemingly good price ANZ's CEO Shayne Elliott confirmed the bank would book a 200 million US dollar loss on the sale due to write-downs and transaction costs.

"Our strategic priority is to create a simpler, better capitalized, better balanced bank focused on attractive areas where we can carve out winning positions," Elliott said in a statement on Monday.

Elliott said the sale does not represent the bank, one of Australia's big four', abandoning Asia, rather that it was pivoting to focus on large business banking and trade finance.

"This transaction simplifies our business while allowing us to continue to benefit from higher levels of growth in the region through a focus on our largest, most successful business in Asia - banking large corporate and institutional clients driven by trade and capital flows particularly with Australia and New Zealand," Elliott said.

The transfer of assets from ANZ to DBS will begin in mid-2017 with both parties hopeful the sale will be completed by the start of 2018.

ANZ's shares went up 0.17 per cent in the wake of Elliott's announcement to 21.13 US dollars per share as of 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). Endit