SYDNEY Oct 9 Westpac Banking Corp is
in pole position to pick up the Australian assets being sold by
Lloyds Banking Group, three sources with knowledge of
the situation said.
Westpac was set to win the auction after rivals Macquarie
Group and a consortium led by Pepper Australia and GE
Capital dropped out of the race, according to the
sources, who asked not to be identified as they were not
authorised to speak publicly about the matter.
Lloyds is selling its corporate loan book, motor and
equipment financing businesses in Australia with a face value of
A$8.5 billion ($8 billion), other sources previously said. The
deal, if successful, will be Westpac's largest acquisition since
its 2008 takeover of St George Bank.
Westpac and Lloyds declined to comment when contacted.
A spokeswoman at Macquarie also declined to comment, while
Pepper Australia could not be immediately reached for comment.
The sale by Lloyds will herald its eventual exit from
Australia. The move is part of a global strategy to cut costs
and shrink its international network to refocus on lending in
the British domestic market.