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ANZ Bank to invest A$300 mln in China to expand branch network

Wednesday 16th May 2012

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Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Australia's third-largest lender, plans to invest A$300 million to expand its branch network and increase lending in China, the world's second-biggest economy.

ANZ was the first Australian bank to invest in China and has six outlets in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou. It plans to increase its network to 20 outlets over the next 10 years, subject to regulatory approval. The capital follows an initial investment of A$395 million.

"The additional capital we plan to invest in ANZ China will support further network expansion, growth in customer lending, employee recruitment and product development to better service our customers," chief executive Mike Smith said in a statement. “We have a long-term commitment to China and will continue to be an active investor in supporting the nation’s financial services sector.”

The bank said its aim is to become a “super-regional bank” in the Asia Pacific region. By 2017 it hopes 25 percent to 30 percent of group profit will come from outside New Zealand and Australia.

ANZ also has a 20 percent stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and Bank of Tianjin. It wholly owns a rural bank in Liangping county, the Chingqing Liangping ANZ Rural Bank.

The dual-listed shares last traded at $28.45 cents on the NZX and have gained 5.7 percent this year.

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