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ANZ offloads NZ finance unit for $626m

AAP logoAAP 10/01/2017 Prashant Mehra

ANZ has announced its second asset sale in two weeks as it continues efforts to streamline the business and bolster its capital.

The lender has agreed to sell its New Zealand-focused asset finance business UDC Finance to Chinese logistics and financial services company HNA Group, for $NZ660 million ($A626 million).

The sale, to be completed late in 2017, will result in a net gain of A$100 million and boost the group's common equity tier one capital ratio by about 10 basis points, it said.

"The sale of UDC is consistent with our strategy to simplify the bank," ANZ's New Zealand chief executive David Hisco said.

The UDC deal follows the sale last week of its 20 per cent stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank to COSCO and Sino-Poland Enterprise for A$1.84 billion.

Australia's fourth-largest lender also announced the sale its retail banking and wealth management businesses in five Asian countries to Singapore's DBS bank in October, as part of its strategy to wind back previous chief executive Mike Smith's program to expand into Asia.

In November, ANZ reported a drop in cash profit to a six-year low as it copped the costs from a major restructure under new chief executive Shayne Elliott.

ANZ is also reviewing the future of its Australian wealth division as it looks to focus only on areas in which it has enjoyed a long-term competitive advantage.

ANZ sold its Esanda car leasing and finance business to Macquarie Group in 2015, and had been reviewing its stake in UDC Finance for more than a year.

UDC had a loan book of $NZ2.6 billion at the end of September 2016, and posted a profit of $NZ59 million for the financial year.

HNA Group, whose operations span airlines, leasing, insurance and real estate, has said it will preserve UDC's operations and retain all existing staff.

At 1005 AEDT, ANZ shares were up 15 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $31.43 each.

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