UOB to buy Citigroup’s retail units in 4 SE Asian markets for $3.65b

UOB in Singapore. Credit: United Overseas Banking Group

Singapore lender United Overseas Bank (UOB) has agreed to buy Citigroup’s consumer businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for about S$4.915 billion ($3.65 billion), funding the purchase with the bank’s excess capital.

The proposed acquisition, UOB’s biggest in two decades, will double the group’s retail customer base in the four markets in Southeast Asia, where UOB already has a large presence and competes with Singapore rivals DBS Group and OCBC.

UOB said in a statement that it would acquire Citi’s unsecured and secured lending portfolios, wealth management and retail deposit businesses in the four countries.

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

The bank said the proposed acquisition is expected to be financed through its excess capital, and it remains comfortable maintaining its dividend policy of a 50% dividend payout ratio.

Citi’s consumer business in the four markets employs about 5,000 employees, who will be transferred to UOB.

“The total cash consideration for the proposed acquisition will be calculated based on an aggregate premium equivalent to S$915 million-plus the net asset value of the consumer business as at completion,” UOB said.

It said Citigroup’s consumer business in these markets had an aggregate net asset value of about S$4 billion and a customer base of about 2.4 million as of 30 June 2021. These generated income of about S$0.5 billion in the first half of 2021.

Citi’s exit from the four markets comes after CEO Jane Fraser announced a strategy last year of closing retail operations in 13 markets, 10 of which are in Asia, as it refocuses on its more lucrative institutional and wealth management businesses.

Last year, Citi agreed to sell its Philippines’ consumer banking franchise, wound down its South Korean consumer bank and sold its Australian consumer banking business.

Citigroup had also announced plans to exit retail operations in India, Taiwan and China.

Credit Suisse (Singapore) is the financial adviser to UOB on the latest deal, while Allen & Overy LLP (Singapore) is the legal adviser.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.