ANZ not selling finance unit to HNA after New Zealand blocks deal

Pedestrians walk past a woman as she looks at her iPhone in front of a sign announcing a new branch of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Photo: Reuters

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd said on Friday it had dropped plans to sell its UDC Finance unit to HNA Group after New Zealand blocked the deal over concerns about the Chinese conglomerate’s ownership structure.

HNA had agreed to buy the vehicle finance unit – New Zealand’s largest non-bank lender – for $460 million early last year.

But in December New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office cited uncertainty over HNA’s ownership structure for the rejection, reflecting mounting international concerns about the aviation-to-shipping group’s transparency and governance.

ANZ had said that it would back out of the deal unless HNA managed to get the decision overturned.

ANZ said it would continue to asssess its strategic options regarding UDC.

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