VANCOUVER, BC (September 12, 2011) Dominion Lending Centres Clearlease Reports Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) is buying nearly 20 per cent of a Chinese bank in a deal worth about $719 million, expanding the Canadian bank’s presence in a key market in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
The Canadian bank said Friday Sept 9 that it had been chosen as the winning bidder to acquire 19.99 per cent of the Bank of Guangzhou (BGZ), a closely held Chinese concern that is primarily government-owned.
Though Scotiabank’s international operations have been focused on the Latin America, the Caribbean and South America, it has also been active in Asia.
Brian Porter, Scotiabank’s head of international banking, said Friday that the bank has been doing business in China for 29 years and is the largest Canadian bank in the country.
“China has a strong emerging middle class and growing purchasing power and this investment puts Scotiabank in a solid position to expand on our existing platform and help develop the retail banking and wealth management sector,” Porter said.
Scotiabank also holds a 14.8 per cent stake in Bank of Xi’an, which will increase to 18.1 per cent pending regulatory approval. The Canadian bank has said that once complete, it will bring its total investment in the bank to $162 million.
The increased ownership will increase Scotiabank representatives on the bank’s board to two from one and also increase Scotiabank’s representation within the senior management team to three from one.
Scotiabank first acquired a stake in the operation, based in the capital of Shaanxi province in western China, in 2004 and has said that it looks to eventually increase its holdings to approximately 20 per cent.
China limits foreign bank investments in its banks to 20 per cent.
BMO analyst John Reucassel noted the deal would likely add modestly to Scotiabank’s earnings in 2012. He didn’t expect Scotiabank to issue any new shares to pay for the deal.
“These investments are consistent with the bank’s strategy and consistent with its historical approach to international investments,” Reucassel wrote in a note to clients.
“These investments also highlight the unique nature of Scotiabank relative to other Canadian banks with its international banking business, which accounts for roughly 27 per cent of bank earnings and should be a primary driver of growth over the next few years.”
RBC analyst Andre-Philippe Hardy said the impact of the deal would be neutral for the Canadian bank.
“While the transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2012, we do not believe Scotiabank’s stock will be impacted by this announcement,” Hardy wrote in a report, noting that it was relatively small compared with the bank’s earnings.
BGZ operates in a fast growing region of southern China, with an expanding middle class that has benefited from China’s growing trade with the world. The Chinese bank has a growing retail customer base and also focuses on providing corporate and treasury services to companies in China.
Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province, which surrounds Hong Kong, and is home to a large manufacturing base.
With assets of $24 billion and customer deposits of $16 billion at the end of June, BGZ is the 29th largest bank in mainland China. Scotiabank has assets of $567 billion, placing it third among Canadian banks in terms of assets.
BGZ has a network of 84 branches and offices centred in Guangzhou and offers both retail banking as well as corporate and treasury services to companies in China.
The investment, which remains subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in December and will boost profits in 2012, the bank said in a statement.
Last month, Scotiabank reported its third-quarter profits jumped 18 per cent to $1.29 billion, helped by recent acquisitions and strength in its international division, which includes branches in Mexico, Chile, India, Australia and Japan as well as China.
Scotiabank’s international operations earned $350 million in the quarter, up from $275 million in the same quarter in 2010.
Scotiabank has more than 70,000 employees and operates around the world.
Shares in the bank closed down $1.18 at $51.63 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.
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