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Citigroup still looking for more from Asia

It takes just one statistic to indicate what a force Citigroup is in Asia. The franchise (including Japan) is the 40th biggest financial institution in the world on a net income basis. Even excluding Japan, Citigroup does business in 16 countries in the region.

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Robert Morse, chief executive of Asia ex-Japan, corporate and investment banking, says that the region has been one of the fastest growing in Citigroup’s corporate and investment bank (CIB) over the past five years. And Asia ex-Japan contributed $295 million of revenues to the CIB in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The bank certainly has big resources it can call upon. Citigroup has about $100 billion of credit committed or outstanding in Asia ex-Japan. This is not surprising given the size of its staff in the region. There are 1,200 people, excluding the DCM and ECM teams, making about 100,000 client calls and visits each year.

The bank’s most high profile transaction last year involved it acting as adviser to China’s CNPC in its acquisition of PetroKazakhstan – the biggest cross-border M&A deal by a Chinese company. “We provided M&A advice, a $4.2 billion standby letter of credit and an equity product through a block trade,” says Morse.

Robert Morse

Despite the obvious attractions of China, Morse says that the bank places as much importance on the other countries in the region.

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