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Opinion

Runners and riders as Citi Asia sales reach bid deadline

We have reached the bidding deadline for Citi’s retail assets in Asia, and the field is becoming clearer. When transactions start being announced early next year, they are likely to favour those who not only offer top dollar but also promise to keep staff on and won’t cause a regulatory headache.

Chris Wright on Asia 1920px.jpg

Friday is the deadline for final bids for Citi’s consumer banking assets in many Asian markets, a key part of chief executive Jane Fraser’s strategy to raise funds to be deployed in institutional and wealth businesses.

Binding bids in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, China, India, South Korea and Taiwan, among others, are due today; the sale of the Australia business to National Australia Bank was confirmed in August.

Here’s what’s at stake, and what we know so far.

Who is in the running?

Euromoney understands that across the 13 markets on the block, around 50 potential buyers showed genuine interest, including both local and regional names.

Few potential bidders have confirmed specific bids, but several have made quite public declarations of interest. DBS, for example, is widely believed to be bidding in Indonesia and Taiwan; fellow Singaporean UOB is likely to bid in several southeast Asian markets (possibly all of them as a bloc) that match its Asean footprint; and Standard Chartered is thought to be bidding in Taiwan at the very least.

Other likely bidders are thought to include Cathay Financial and Fubon in Taiwan, Bangkok Bank and MUFG subsidiary Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) in Thailand, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra (plus, possibly, ICICI) in India, Maybank in Malaysia, and several of the biggest domestic banks in the Philippines.

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