Westpac to sell down stake in investment firm

Westpac has announced it will reduce its stake in one of its wealth management subsidiaries, generating as much as $700 million from the transaction.

In a statement on the ASX yesterday, Westpac announced an institutional and retail offer that will see its holding in BT Investment Management (BTIM) reduce from 59 per cent to between 31 per cent and 40 per cent.

The sell-down will generate a post-tax accounting gain on sale of between $600 million and $700 million for Westpac, said the statement.

"Westpac's common equity tier one capital ratio is also estimated to increase by between 10 and 15 basis points. The accounting gain will be treated as a cash earnings adjustment in Westpac’s full year 2015 accounts," the statement said.

Westpac Group chief financial officer Peter King said the sale allows the bank to increase its capital ratios while still maintaining a "significant interest" in BTIM.

"The strength and importance of the relationship remains unchanged. Wealth remains a strategically important focus for the Westpac Group and our continued investment in BTIM sees us maintain a stake in asset management which is a key factor in having a strong and diversified wealth business.

"The transaction increases the proportion of BTIM's shares that are readily tradable, improving liquidity and helping facilitate inclusion in key equity indices," he said.

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Aleks Vickovich

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