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ANZ considers UDC Finance IPO

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is considering an IPO of ordinary shares in UDC Finance Ltd. after the deal to sell the latter fell through.

The offering is part of a number of strategic options for the New Zealand-based asset finance company's future, which are in turn under ANZ's strategy to simplify the bank and enhance capital efficiency, ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd. David Hisco said in a March 20 statement.

Hisco added that the lender is looking at whether or not an IPO would be of interest to UDC Finance's staff and customers, as well as ANZ shareholders, but said there was no immediate requirement to make decisions.

In January 2017, ANZ agreed to sell UDC Finance to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd. for NZ$660 million. The deal initially included the Esanda brand, along with trademarks in Australia and New Zealand. But in December of the same year, New Zealand's Overseas Investment Office rejected HNA's application to buy the asset finance unit due to uncertainty surrounding the conglomerate's ownership structure. Shortly afterward, ANZ called off the deal to sell the unit.

UDC Finance has drawn interest from several companies, including New Zealand's Heartland Bank Ltd., which has been eyeing the unit as far back as November 2016.

As of March 19, US$1 was equivalent to NZ$1.38.