Australian bank ANZ scales back Asian operations

ANZ Image copyright Getty Images

One of Australia's biggest banks, ANZ, is to offload part of its Asian operations.

It has agreed to sell its retail banking and wealth management businesses in five Asian countries to Singapore's DBS.

ANZ had aggressively expanded into the region, notably buying Asian operations from the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland in 2009.

The sale is part of the firm's efforts to scale back that expansion.

'Not competitive'

DBS will take over the businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia.

The exact value of the deal has not been revealed, but the Australian lender says it will lose about A$265m ($201m; £165m) on the sale.

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said the bank had 1.3 million customers in the businesses it was selling, but had struggled to get enough scale to be competitive in the region.

He added that while Asia was still important, it would now focus more on corporate banking - especially in Australia and New Zealand.

"Our strategic priority is to create a simpler, better capitalised, better balanced bank focussed on attractive areas where we can carve out winning positions," said ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott.

DBS is keen to expand its wealth management business - having recently missed out on buying Barclay's Asian wealth and investment-management operations.

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