Metropolitan Bank & Trust (Metrobank) has signed an agreement with its joint-venture partner in the Philippines ANZ Funds to increase its stake in credit card unit Metrobank Card Corp (MCC) up to 100%.

MCC is one of the prominent providers of credit cards in the Philippines with more than 1.5 million cards in force.

Subject to regulatory approvals, ANZ has agreed to initially divest its 20% stake in the joint venture for $144m.

ANZ also entered into a put option to offload its remaining 20% holding to Metrobank in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.

The move is expected to take the total deal value to $288m.

Metrobank president Fabian Dee said: “With this transaction, we now have a great opportunity to further expand our retail capabilities.

“We expect to leverage on better operational efficiencies as we eventually make MCC a wholly owned subsidiary of Metrobank.”

ANZ deputy CEO Graham Hodges added: “The sale makes sense for ANZ given our continued efforts to simplify our business and is also a good outcome for MCC and its card customers given the strength of the business. ANZ remains committed to its institutional business in the Philippines.”