ANZ eyes Asian acquisitions

CEO Mike Smith also mulls selling stake in Chinese, Malaysian banks: report.

ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is searching for new acquisitions in Asia to boost the proportion of its earnings from outside Australia, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, chief executive officer Mike Smith said the bank is also looking to sell its 17% stake in China's Bank of Tianjin and may sell its 24% holding in AmBank Group of Malaysia.

"I've always been quite open about the fact I don't like minority interests," Mr Smith told the AFR in Hong Kong.

He said ANZ's target of earning 30 per cent of revenue outside of Australia and New Zealand by 2017 could be achieved through organic growth in its Asian assets, but the bank would look to expand by acquisition if a suitable target appeared.

Asia needs deeper markets: Smith

Earlier, Mr Smith said the depth of capital markets in the growing Asian region needs further development, according to The Australian.

ANZ is the most focussed on Asian markets of Australia’s big four banks.

Speaking at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, Mike Smith said for forecast growth to eventuate in the region, capital markets will need to marry more with the norms set in developed economies.

“Asia should hold a similar amount of the world's financial assets -- that is around $US200 trillion ($A220 trillion) in 2030 and as much as $US700 trillion in 2050," Mr Smith said, according to The Australian.

"But for such deepening of capital markets to occur there will have to be a significant step away from government control of bank-dominated systems to allow capital markets (primarily equity and debt) to flourish.”

Mr Smith said such development would require the region to be home to more financial capitals.

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