finance

Citi to sell consumer banking units in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to UOB Group


A Citibank branch in New York, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Citigroup will sell its consumer banking businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to Singapore’s United Overseas Bank, the banks announced Friday.

As part of the deal, UOB said it will acquire Citi’s unsecured and secured lending portfolios, wealth management and retail deposit units that make up its consumer banking business in the four markets.

UOB, which has a prominent presence in Southeast Asia, will pay Citigroup for the net assets of the acquired businesses as well as a premium of $690 million.

Citi’s consumer business had an aggregate net value of about 4 billion Singapore dollars ($2.97 billion) and a customer base of approximately 2.4 million as of June 30, 2021, UOB said.

The proposed transaction is expected to be financed through the bank’s excess capital and is estimated to reduce UOB’s common equity tier 1 ratio — which measures a bank’s capital in relation to its assets — by 70 basis points to 12.8%, UOB said. It added that the impact on the CET1 ratio is not expected to be material and will remain within regulatory requirements.

The sale of these four consumer markets, along with our previously announced transactions, demonstrate our sense of urgency to execute our strategic refresh.

“UOB believes in Southeast Asia’s long-term potential and we have been disciplined, selective and patient in seeking the right opportunities to grow,” Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and chief executive officer at UOB, said in a statement.

Approximately 5,000 Citi consumer banking staff and supporting employees in the four markets are expected to transfer to UOB when the proposed deal closes.

“The acquired business, together with UOB’s regional consumer franchise, will form a powerful combination that will scale up UOB Group’s business and advance our position as a leading regional bank,” Wee said.

UOB shares ticked higher by 1.23% Friday afternoon, following the announcement.

Citi said it expects the deal to release approximately $1.2 billion of allocated tangible common equity and an increase to tangible common equity of over $200 million. Tangible common equity is a measure used to assess a financial institution’s ability to deal with potential losses.

The New York-based bank will still retain control of its institutional businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser said last year that the bank will exit retail operations in 13 countries outside the United States to improve returns. Many of those markets are in Asia-Pacific, including Australia, China, India and Indonesia.

“The sale of these four consumer markets, along with our previously announced transactions, demonstrate our sense of urgency to execute our strategic refresh,” Citi CFO Mark Mason said in a statement on Friday.

Citi expects the deal to be completed between mid-2022 and early 2024, depending on the progress and outcome of regulatory approvals.

Last year, Citi said it agreed to sell its consumer banking businesses in the Philippines and Australia and was winding down consumer banking operations in South Korea.



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