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UPDATE 1-Australia's Westpac to sell Pacific businesses for $312 million

(Adds quote, details on plans to sell units)

Dec 7 (Reuters) - Westpac Banking Corp will sell its Pacific businesses in Fiji and Papua New Guinea for up to A$420 million ($312.1 million), Australia’s No. 3 lender said on Monday, offloading another unit to focus on its core local operations.

The sale is the latest by Westpac in its effort to boost capital after taking large COVID-19 provisions for potential bad debts and a record fine in September for enabling millions of illicit payments, including to people exploiting children.

Westpac expects the sale to Papua New Guinea-based Kina Securities Ltd to boost its core capital by 3 basis points, but is writing in an expected loss of A$230 million from the deal.

“We are taking another step in becoming a simpler, stronger bank,” said Jason Yetton, head of Westpac’s specialist businesses and group strategy.

The lender is still seeking buyers for its wealth management platform. Last week, Westpac announced the sale of its general insurance arm to German insurer Allianz for A$725 million ($539 million).

$1 = 1.3457 Australian dollars $1 = 1.3455 Australian dollars Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney

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