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Westpac mulls further business sale

The major bank has said that it is assessing the viability of another business arm, as part of a simplification strategy that has already seen its Asian and wealth-related businesses on the chopping block.

In a statement to the market on Wednesday (24 March), Westpac said it was “assessing the appropriate structure” for its New Zealand business and “whether a demerger would be in the best interest of shareholders”, after earlier revealing it had been instructed by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to commission a number of reports around its risk and liquidity management processes.

“Westpac NZ is a valuable part of the Westpac Group and has been for over 160 years.

However, given the changing capital requirements in New Zealand and the RBNZ requirement to structurally separate Westpac’s NZ business operations from its operations in Australia, it is now appropriate to assess the best structure for these businesses going forward,” the bank said.

Westpac said the review formed part of its “fix, simplify and perform” strategy, which had already seen its wealth platforms, super and insurance businesses placed in a specialist division, with a view to the bank’s “ultimate exit” from these businesses.

“We have also announced the consolidation of our international operations in Asia,” the bank said. Westpac said it would provide further updates on the New Zealand review as required.

The major bank recently announced that it will sell its lender’s mortgage insurance business to a global specialist insurer, and it will also combine its consumer and business divisions into one division later this month. 

[Related: APRA closes Westpac case, EU remains]

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