Citigroup sells consumer bank in Philippines to Unionbank

MANILA, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc (C.N) said on Thursday it is selling its consumer-banking business in the Philippines to UnionBank (UBP.PS) in the third of 13 planned exits from Asia franchises.

Citigroup said the Philippines transaction will increase its tangible common equity by about $500 million of the total $7 billion increase it expects to eventually come from the Asia divestiture plan it announced in April.

For Unionbank of the Philippines the purchase is part of a bid to boost growth in its retail banking sector.

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Unionbank will pay cash for the net assets of the Citi Philippines’ consumer banking business plus a premium of 45.3 billion pesos, or about $908 million, Citigroup said.

The deal includes Citi’s credit card, personal loans, wealth management and retail deposit businesses, as well as real estate assets. It covers all Citigroup-related staff, and some 1,750 employees are expected to transfer to Unionbank.

Citigroup said in August that it would to sell its Australian consumer unit to National Australia Bank (NAB.AX) for nearly $882.24 million.

Citigroup has also said it will close its Korea business. It expects to take a cash charge of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion for costs related to the shutdown. read more

Citigroup also plans to exit retail operations in Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The bank does not have enough scale in the markets to compete, Jane Fraser, Citigroup chief executive officer, has said.

As of the end of June, Citi’s consumer banking business in the Philippines had total assets of 89.5 billion pesos, including gross loans of 59.7 billion pesos, total liabilities of 71.7 billion pesos that included deposits of 67.8 billion pesos, and a customer base numbering nearly 1 million.

Unionbank said its acquisition, which is expected to close in the second half of 2022, will be funded by a combination of internal resources and a stock rights offering.

“We look forward to this game-changing opportunity to leapfrog our credit-card business and significantly expand our banking business in the higher-end segment of the consumer market,” Unionbank President and CEO Edwin Bautista said in a statement.

($1 = 50.1100 Philippine pesos)

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Reporting by David Henry, Neil Jerome Morales and Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Ed Davies and Mark Porter

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