Amid Asian Offloading, It’s Business As Usual For ANZ Royal

ANZ Royal’s main Phnom Penh branch, on the corner of Street 114 and Street 67.

ANZ Royal, the joint venture between the Australian and New Zealand Bank Group (ANZ) and Kith Meng’s Royal Group, is not currently under review for a potential sale, company executives confirmed yesterday in the wake of news that ANZ had offloaded its operations in five other Asian nations.

ANZ Royal’s retail and wealth business in Cambodia was not part of the [ANZ]’s strategic review. It’s business as usual for ANZ Royal,” said ANZ Royal CEO Leonie Lethbridge in a press statement.

ANZ announced in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) yesterday that it was selling its operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia to the Singapore-based DBS Group for around $84 million above the book value. The sale sees ANZ making a net loss of just over $200 million.

Several international news agencies published a misleading quote made by ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott yesterday, in which he stated that the bank was also looking to “exit at the right time” from its businesses in Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam.

However, Reuters journalist Jamie Freed managed to get a clarification by email from Elliott, who took the ANZ reins from long-serving CEO Mike Smith at the start of this year.

“I misspoke a little bit there in the heat of the moment I guess,” Elliott wrote in his email exchange with Freed. “The strategic review that we announced is continuing with Vietnam and the Philippines. Cambodia, in particular, is actually a joint venture, so that’s not part of any ongoing review at this stage – and same with Laos.”

According to Elliott’s original statement in the ASX filing, “Asia remains core to ANZ’s strategy” but regulatory changes, the competitive landscape and the need to focus resources mean the bank is no longer the best owner for retail businesses in the region.

“Our strategic priority is to create a simpler, better capitalised, better balanced bank focused on attractive areas where we can carve out winning positions,” he added.


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