ANZ has sold off its majority stake in joint venture bank Cambodian JV ANZ Royal Bank, booking a $30 million loss in the process.
In a statement to the ASX, the major bank announced it had sold off its 55 per cent stake in Cambodia-based joint venture bank for an undisclosed amount to Japanese stock exchange-listed financial holding firm J Trust.
But selling its stake will cost ANZ $30 million in “transaction costs, taxes and the release of accumulated foreign currency translation reserves,” the statement said.
The sale is part of ANZ’s “ongoing review of international partnerships” and strategy to streamline its businesses, according to the statement, making it ANZ’s eighth divestment in a string of sales or closures of its Asia-based retail and wealth businesses.
ANZ will continue to manage and own its 55 per cent stake in the Cambodia-based joint venture for another 12 months to ensure a smooth handover to J Trust.
ANZ group executive international Farhan Faruqui noted that the business had been “beneficial” to both ANZ as well as the Royal group over the last decade, adding that the Cambodian business environment was “attractive”.
“However, the sale is in line with our efforts to exit minority investments and partnerships to focus on our institutional business in Asia,” he said.
ANZ sold five of its Asian retail and wealth management businesses (Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia) at the end of September 2016, and little over a year later, sold its Vietnam business to Shinhan Bank Vietnam.
In early February, ANZ shut down its Philippine retail business four months after selling half of its 40 per cent stake to its joint venture partner in October 2017.
The backtrack from Asia has been noted by Morningstar analyst David Ellis, who remarked that the “ambitious nature” of the major bank’s “super-regional concept ha[d] caught up with reality”.
But Mr Faruqui said ANZ “remain[s] committed to our institutional presence in Asia”.
“Our regional network is an important differentiator for ANZ and key to our ambition to be the best bank to support companies with trade and capital flows throughout the region,” he said.
The sale awaits final regulatory approval from the National Bank of Cambodia and the Ministry of Commerce.
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