Wednesday 27 May 2009 8:00 pm

ANZ favourite in race for RBS Asia operations

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AUSTRALIA and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) moved into pole position to clinch a deal for Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) Asian assets after rival bidders HSBC and Standard Chartered failed to come up with firm bids.

ANZ said it had submitted a non-binding bid for the assets and is raising up to A$2.85bn (£1.38bn) in a share sale to bankroll the acquisition.

HSBC and Standard Chartered, both of which had been eyeing RBS Asia, are understood to have missed a 21 May deadline to submit an offer and have instead asked for more details from RBS.

The two banks are ready to come back in for RBS Asia, but only if the terms of the sale are changed, or if some of the assets are sold separately.

RBS has already said it would prefer to sell RBS Asia in one bundle, but talks about with HSBC and Standard Chartered are now likely to drag on.

The bank has said that it wants to dispose of the unit before the end of the summer but would surely be happy to pit bidders against one another in a protracted battle.

The three lenders are the only reported bidders to date for RBS Asia, which has been valued by analysts at between £500m and £1bn.