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Notizie:australia'S Anz To Bid Up To $3 Billion For Rbs Asia Operations - Report (ANZ)

- 02/3/2009 16:10

CANBERRA, Dow Jones--Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AU) is preparing to bid for the Asian operations of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS), possibly for as much as US$3 billion, the South China Morning Post reported Saturday.

The deal would include the bank's Hong Kong and mainland businesses, which employ 1,400 people, the paper said, citing unnamed sources.

ANZ, which has mandated Credit Suisse to advise on the deal, is the only potential bidder known to have hired outside counsel, usually a sign a financial institution is seriously considering a takeover, the paper said. Sources told the paper that ANZ had worked up "very detailed" plans for the acquisition and was prepared to offer up to US$3 billion for the assets. This, however, depends on what is up for sale.

Melbourne-based ANZ has previously expressed an ambition to boost its presence in Asia, but Chief Executive Mike Smith last week declined to comment on speculation that the group may buy RBS' operations in Asia. Smith, who joined ANZ in 2007 from HSBC, aims to transform the bank into what he describes as a "super-regional bank" and hopes to generate around 20% of the bank's earnings from the Asia Pacific region by 2012 as it searches for new growth avenues.

Smith said last week that there are a number of opportunities for growth in Asia, with pricing expectations likely to drop as economic conditions globally deteriorate.

He said that there could also be some acquisition opportunities thrown up as large international banks struggle in the current market, and the bank is monitoring opportunities in its home market. But Smith stressed that ANZ is in no rush to buy assets and indicated he thinks that prices may have further to fall.

RBS put its retail and commercial operations in Asia, comprising 170 bank branches and a business loan division, on the block last week after Thursday unveiling a GBP24.05 billion annual loss, the largest in British corporate history.

-By Canberra bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; +61 2 6208 0901;

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