By Rebecca Thurlow

SYDNEY--Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ.AU) agreed to sell New Zealand asset finance business UDC Finance to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group (HNAG.YY) for 660 million New Zealand dollars (US$461 million).

ANZ said the deal reflects the bank's continued focus on simplifying its business and improving capital efficiency.

Banks globally are increasingly focused on building up capital and boosting returns under pressure from sluggish revenue growth, low interest rates, stricter regulations and rising funding costs.

Last week ANZ struck a deal to sell its 20% stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank for 9.19 billion yuan (US$1.32 billion), marking the latest move to roll back its presence in Asia.

David Hisco, head of ANZ's New Zealand operations, said Wednesday that HNA intends to preserve UDC's operations including offering continued employment to all staff.

ANZ said the sale price is a NZ$235 million premium to UDC's net asset value as of September 2016, and is 1.6 times book value. UDC made a net profit of NZ$59 million in fiscal 2016, on revenue of NZ$120 million.

The sale is subject to conditions including regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of calendar 2017.

The transaction also includes the Esanda name and trademarks in Australia and New Zealand. ANZ said the additional consideration for the name and trademark sale isn't material to the bank.

Write to Rebecca Thurlow at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2017 16:26 ET (21:26 GMT)

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