Action continues apace in the financial services sector as ANZ Bank mulls a divestment of its Esanda car financing operation and some familiar local names head the list of suitors.
Elsewhere, Wesfarmers and Woolworths keep a close eye on the auction of Carter Holt Harvey, NAB prepares to further trim its position in US-based Great Western Bank and the IPO pipeline starts to swell once again.
ANZ Bank will kick off the auction process for vehicle financing and loan advice division Esanda late next month, according to The Australian Financial Review. The sale of the business could reap around $2 billion for the bank, with Macquarie Group and Bank of Queensland singled out as prospective suitors should an auction proceed.
The development comes as GE Capital presses forward with a divestment of its local consumer lending business. NAB’s life insurance operations are also rumoured to be up for grabs at the right price.
NAB, which is also looking to exit the UK market, is currently testing the appetite of US investors for a sale of a further 30 per cent of US-based Great Western once a share lock-up period ends in April, the AFR reports. At current prices, a 30 per cent sale would reap around $430 million.
Meanwhile, the $1bn Carter Holt Harvey Building Supplies business is drawing plenty of suitors as Credit Suisse prepares to start the sales process next month. Pacific Equity Partners, Archer Capital, Crescent Capital lead the list of prospective buyers, though Wesfarmers’ Bunnings and Woolworths’ Masters could join the race if the Carter Holt business is hived off in parts.
In the IPO market, Alceon has tapped Macquarie Capital and UBS to gauge interest in a $250m-$300m float of its manufactured housing parks business. The long-awaited listing is tipped to take place around the end of the first quarter of the calendar year.
Also looking to hit ASX boards in the first half of the year are conveyancing and legal services tech group InfoTrack, retailer Adairs Retail Group and mobile service operator Amaysim. According to the AFR, InfoTrack could secure a valuation of about $200m, Adairs may command a $300m price-tag and Amaysim could draw a valuation of close to $400m. The latter may pursue a dual-track process, with trade and private equity interest tipped to be considerable.
In infrastructure, the $200m-$300m Port of Darwin is drawing interest from Palisade Investment Partners, RREEF Infrastructure and Whitehelm Capital, the AFR reports. Formal expressions of interest are due by the end of the month.
Elsewhere, Philippines-based Monde Nissin is reportedly in the final stages of due diligence on a planned takeover of local food distributor Menora Foods. According to the AFR, a final agreement may be reached before the end of January.
Finally, administrator PPB Advisory may auction off troubled coalminer Bandanna Energy shortly as secured creditor Credit Suisse presses for quick action, while private equity firm Blackstone is hoping to raise $500m from the US leverage loan market to fund its acquisition of Orica’s chemicals division.