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Macquarie snaps up ANZ's car finance book for $5.9B

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Top Australian investment bank Macquarie Group on Thursday said it will buy ANZ Banking Group's A$7.8 billion ($5.59 billion) vehicle finance portfolio, building on its strategy to cut risk and focus on steadier returns.

Macquarie was paying a premium of A$400 million on the portfolio's net lending assets, taking the total purchase price to A$8.2 billion. It would need initial capital of about A$800 million, half of which would be raised through an institutional share placement, Macquarie said in a statement.

The acquisition marks another step in Macquarie's so far successful strategy of reducing its reliance on risky investment banking and focusing on more reliable revenue streams. The bank's shares, which were placed on a trading halt Thursday pending the announcement, are up 33 percent this year as of Wednesday's close, compared with a near 4 percent drop on the benchmark index.

"It's a good deal, was well-flagged and well-timed. The valuation is not unreasonable. It is fair value, we think," said Paul Kasian, head of asset management at EQT Funds Management.

For ANZ, the deal will help boost its common equity Tier-1 ratio by 20 basis points and satisfy tough new capital requirements. Concerns about capital ratios have helped drive blue-chip Australian bank stocks down 5-12.5 percent this year, with ANZ the worst performer.

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Macquarie will issue 5.1 million new shares, about 1.5 percent of its market capitalisation, to institutional investors to raise the A$400 million. It will also launch a share purchase plan for retail investors.

It did not disclose the equity component of the deal, which media has widely reported at A$1.5 billion.

Macquarie's total motor vehicle finance portfolio will increase to about A$17 billion from A$9 billion.

The Sydney-based bank reiterated that it expects net profit for the year to end-March 2016 to top the A$1.6 billion recorded last year, which was its best annual profit since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Macquarie's bid beat offers from U.S. private equity giant Carlyle and China's HNA Group.

Deutsche Bank is advising ANZ on the sale.