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Citigroup to Sell Southeast Asia Units to UOB for $3.6bn

The deal includes retail banking and credit card businesses, but excludes the bank’s institutional businesses in all four countries

Under Jane Fraser, Citigroup is exiting many consumer banking markets. Photo: Reuters


Singapore’s UOB Group will acquire Citigroup’s consumer banking franchises in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and
Vietnam for about $3.6 billion, the lenders said on Friday.

The deal includes retail banking and credit card businesses but excludes the bank’s institutional businesses in all four countries.

About 5,000 employees are expected to transfer to UOB. The Singapore bank’s shares rose 0.3% in early trading on Friday.

“The acquisition of Citigroup’s retail business in our key markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam is a great opportunity that comes at the right time,” UOB deputy chairman and CEO Wee Ee Cheong said.

Citi’s exit from its consumer franchises in 13 markets, mostly across the Asia-Pacific region, is expected to yield about $7 billion over time.

Under recently appointed global CEO Jane Fraser, Citigroup has sought to dispose of retail banking operations in several Asia-Pacific, Middle East and European markets as it instead focuses on wealth management.

This week, the lender said it would sell its consumer and small-business operations in Mexico.

“We are confident that UOB, with its strong culture and broad regional ambitions, will provide excellent opportunities and a long-term home for our consumer banking colleagues in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam,” Peter Babej, Citi’s Asia Pacific CEO, said.

Citi said UOB was selected following an extensive and competitive auction process. It is estimated that the deals will be completed between mid-2022 and early 2024, depending on regulatory approval processes.


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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