New Zealand regulator blocks ANZ selling UDC to Chinese firm

New Zealand’s overseas investment regulator has blocked Chinese conglomerate HNA Group’s $460 million purchase of ANZ’s asset finance firm UDC Finance.

ANZ had organised to sell UDC, New Zealand’s largest non-bank lender, to HNA nearly a year ago.

“While the sale agreement between the parties remains in place, unless HNA successfully overturns the OIO (Overseas Investment Office) decision, the sale will not proceed,” ANZ Bank group executive and New Zealand chief executive David Hisco said.

He said the bank did not know if HNA would attempt to overturn the decision.

“If the sale does not proceed, we’ll assess our strategic options regarding the future of UDC,” he said.

ANZ says the OIO decision would have no impact on ANZ’s recently announced $1.5 billion share buyback.

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