NAB to focus on core markets following UK exit

NAB shareholders have voted in favour of the demerger of UK subsidiaries Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, with chief executive Andrew Thorburn indicating that the bank will now focus on its “core markets”.

At a scheme meeting held in Melbourne this week, NAB shareholders voted in favour of the demerger of NAB’s UK banking businesses Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank.

Mr Thorburn said the demerger will allow NAB to “pursue our own focused strategy in our core markets in Australia and New Zealand”.

“I know this demerger is a big decision, but I believe it is the right decision and is integral to our NAB strategy. It will enable us to execute with less distractions, complexity and with greater precision,” he said.

NAB chairman Ken Henry said the challenges faced by UK banks following the global financial crisis helped motivate the decision to exit the UK market.

“Clydesdale Bank has been a significant factor in NAB shareholder returns not being at the level that we have wanted, not competitive with our Australian peers,” Mr Henry said.

According to Mr Henry, the demerger will see 75 per cent of new a holding company, CYBG PLC, which will own NAB's Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank operations, be distributed to NAB shareholders.

The remaining 25 per cent of CYBG will be offered to institutional investors through an IPO, with the final price to be announced on 2 February 2016.

Mr Thorburn concluded that the demerger will be positive for Clydesdale Bank, allowing it to focus on its home market.

“It will also enable Clydesdale Bank to leverage their unique position in the UK to deliver returns for shareholders.”

NAB’s decision to exit the UK market follows the bank’s divestment from its US subsidiary, Great Western Bank and the sale of 80 per cent of its life insurance business to Japanese firm Nippon Life.

NAB first announced its intention to exit the UK market in July 2015.

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