Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has agreed to sell its 20% stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank (SRCB) for A$1.84bn (£1.08bn; $1.33bn), the bank revealed on Tuesday (3 January).
According to the sale deal, which was agreed on 31 December 2016, the stake will be sold equally to China Cosco Shipping Corporation and Shanghai SinoPoland Enterprise Management Development Corporation. The sale, subject to certain closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
ANZ said its relationship with SRCB, in which it had acquired the stake in September 2007 had been a successful one both financial and commercially. While its investments in SRCB until date stood at A$568m, it had realised A$1.3bn of equity accounted earnings and received A$178m in dividends, it said.
The Australian bank explained that the price it would receive from the transaction represented a price-to-book ratio of about 1.1 times SRCB's net assets as of December 2015. After taking into account transaction costs and taxes, this price would be broadly in line with the carrying value of the investment in ANZ's accounts as at 30 September 2016. This included "accumulated equity accounted profits and foreign currency translation reserves over the period of investment".
The move by ANZ is part of its efforts to focus on institutional banking in Asia. It had announced the same in October following an agreement to sell its retail and wealth business in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia to Singapore's DBS Bank.
Commenting on the SRCB sale agreement, ANZ deputy chief executive officer Graham Hodges said in a statement: "This partnership has been beneficial for both ANZ and for Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank. SRCB is now a strong, successful bank with a prosperous future.
"As we have previously stated, the sale reflects our strategy to simplify our business and improve capital efficiency.
"The sale will also allow us to focus our resources on our Institutional Banking business in Asia. This includes a significant commitment to China over the past 30 years with 100% ANZ-owned branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Qingdao serving our institutional clients."