Westpac cold on Asia deals

Bank's Asia boss says acquisitions in region are not economically justifiable.

Westpac’s most senior banker in Asia says financial acquisitions in the region are not economically justifiable, suggesting major deals are unlikely anytime soon, The Australianreports.

Westpac's Singapore-based head of Asia Bala Swaminathan told the newspaper prices in Asia were too high and often it was impossible to take majority control due to government regulations.

"I actually think the economics of doing an M&A in Asia are not justified at this stage," he said. "The banks are owned by the government who are not sellers or owned by private sector who are asking for four times book value and are not willing to give you a majority.”

He also told The Australian it would be risky for Westpac to try to replicate its strong local position in Asia within a few years, saying returns are better in Australia.

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