ANZ Bank CEO calls HK takeover targets 'expensive'

By Marc Castro

Oct 08, 2013 09:27 AM EDT

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd's CEO Michael Smith had said the takeover targets in Hong Kong are expensive. This was the sentiment as the lender from Down Under is ramping up plans to expand its Asia-Pacific business.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television's Susan Li, "I have always been interested in assets in this part of the world and Hong Kong obviously is an attractive market, but I feel they are overpriced. I look at Hong Kong as very much a stepping stone into China. Therefore, anything you look for has to have the strategic next step in terms of your expansion into the Chinese mainland."

Smith currently heads the most Asia focused lender in Australia and is working on doubling the contribution from his bank' businesses outside Oceania to 30% by the year 2017. He said the bank had set up a local incorporated unit in China back in 2011 had expanded into Indonesia and is working on obtaining a banking license in Thailand by 2014.

He also added that his bank is among the banks interested in Wing Hang Bank Ltd and Chong Hing Bank Ltd, as confirmed by both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal last month. The Oriental Daily reported last Sept 16 that ANZ is among the bank bidding for Chong Hing.

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