NAB eyes IPO for UK units

NATIONAL Australia Bank is considering a £2bn flotation of its UK operations, the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks, City A.M. understands.

The Melbourne-headquartered institution is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) for the units as one of several courses of action.

Chief executive Cameron Clyne last week said the group wanted to participate in the consolidation of the UK banking sector, although he added that all options would be kept open.

It was reported yesterday that an IPO of Clydesdale and Yorkshire would be put on the table if NAB fails to win the auction of 318 branches being sold off by Royal Bank of Scotland. NAB faces stiff competition for the assets from bidders including Spanish players Santander and BBVA, and Virgin Money.

A question mark has hovered over the future ownership of Clydesdale and Yorkshire for some time. In December, NAB said it had received approaches from parties interested in buying the businesses, although it simply said it would continue to “explore and assess” the value offered by trade sales. In March, Clyne again discussed the potential disposal of the UK banks, which have a combined network of 350 branches. But he told investors: “We are well-positioned for organic growth and we are not a forced seller.”

A spokesperson for NAB refused to comment last night.