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ANZ Bank deal to sell UDC Finance to HNA not proceeding

Friday 12th January 2018

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ANZ Bank New Zealand said an agreement to sell UDC Finance to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group for $660 million has terminated after the application was declined by the Overseas Investment Office in December. 

"The agreement to sell UDC Finance to HNA Group will not proceed as the agreement with HNA has now been terminated in accordance with the contracted timeframe," ANZ said in a release.

“Following the termination of the agreement with HNA, we’ll continue to assess our strategic options regarding the future of UDC, although there is no immediate requirement to do anything," said ANZ group executive and New Zealand chief executive David Hisco. 

The Overseas Investment Office said it had declined the application because it did not determine who the relevant overseas person was from the information provided about ownership and control interests. 

Hisco said UDC continues to be a very profitable business with a strong capital position. 

"Its focus remains on its core business of financing vehicles and equipment for people and companies across New Zealand," Hisco said. 

The UDC acquisition would have been the first New Zealand deal for Hainan, China-based HNA, which evolved from a regional airline to a global conglomerate with more than US$90 billion of assets. However, the company has been coming under increased scrutiny after a debt-fuelled US$40 billion global acquisition spree, and Standard & Poor's warned late last year it would probably downgrade UDC's credit rating if the deal was approved due to HNA's "significant debt maturities over the next several years" which had led to "meaningfully higher" funding costs.

Parent Australia & New Zealand Banking Group's dual-listed shares recently traded down 0.9 percent at $31 on the NZX.

(BusinessDesk)

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