Amid announcements of sudden business restructuring, Standard Chartered (StanChart) may also face a takeover bid from Australia’s third largest bank by assets, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), according to analysts at Citigroup.
However, Craig Williams and RonitGhose, Citigroup analysts, have commented in a note to investors that though a potential bid by ANZ is likely, an acquisition may not materialise.
Talks of a StanChart sale have been in the works for the past two years, with the bank’s largest shareholder Temasek Holdings rumoured to sell its 18% stake. However analysts at Citi were quoted by Bloomberg saying, "Other institutions, with similar international ambitions but lower levels of profitability than ANZ may be better fits as acquirers".
Only recently, the UK-based bank announced surprise plans of combining its consumer banking and wholesale banking businesses into one unit, the latter of which accounts for 78% of the bank’s revenues. This collective unit is to be headed by the lender’s veteran wholesale banking head, Mike Rees, now promoted to be deputy CEO of the bank.
Additional management changes include the retirement of, long-serving finance director of StanChart, Richard Meddings, who served the position for the past seven years. CEO of the consumer banking business, Steve Bertamini, will also be stepping down effective from March 2014.
The changes have been met with suspicion by shareholders and City analysts who have misgiving about the impetus behind StanChart’s major shift in strategy. Shares fell by 4% on the afternoon of the announcement.
The bank that prided itself for its strength in emerging markets and solid post-crisis recovery has been seeing a flurry of cost-cutting measures and closure of its consumer banking and wealth management units at various locations to focus on its wholesale business.