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ANZ to merge with NAB

Australian financial companies ANZ and the National Australia Bank (NAB) have agreed to merge operations for AUS $8. 5 billion, the two companies announced Friday. Once merged, ANZ and NAB will become the strongest financial institution in Australia and in Asia and the Pacific. The agreement was reached last week as the executive committees of the two companies met outside of Sydney to decide on the remaining details of the deal. The boards of both ANZ and NAB will endorse the merger to their respective shareholders for approval.

Shareholders of ANZ and NAB will meet next month during the quarterly performance meetings of the two companies. The boards will discuss the details of the AUS $8. 5 billion merging price to shareholders and analysts as well as key plans of the merged companies during the meetings. “The agreement to merge is consistent with ANZ’s business strategy to become a super regional bank. By merging with NAB, we hope to grow our presence in the Asia Pacific region to around 20% of earnings by 2012,” ANZ CEO Michael Smith said.

NAB welcomed the agreement of ANZ to merge the two companies after months of thorough negotiations and stringent corporate appraisals. “Merging with ANZ will help NAB realize our strategic priorities of continuing to develop our portfolio of businesses while maintaining balance sheet strength so that we remain a strong and viable business in the whole of Asia. By merging with ANZ, we will gain entry into key Asian markets of ANZ,” NAB Group Chief Executive Officer Cameron Clyne said.

ANZ is one of the top four banks in Australia and is considered the largest Australian bank in Asia with 5. 7 million retail customers. It employs 39,000 people in 32 countries in Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and America. NAB has a10. 93 million customers and 40,000 people in 1,800 branches and service centers in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States and Asia. Its brands include NAB, MLC and UBank in Australia; Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank in UK; Bank of New Zealand in New Zealand; and Great Western Bank in the US.