Lloyds agrees to sell Australian assets to Westpac

image captionLloyds is focusing its efforts on its UK business

Lloyds Banking Group has agreed to sell its Australian operations to Westpac Banking Corp, the country's second largest bank, for about £900m.

The move is the latest in Lloyds' efforts to sell its overseas assets and focus on the UK after its £20bn government bailout in 2008.

The deal, which includes assets in corporate lending and car finance, is due to be completed at the end of 2013.

Westpac said the acquisition made "strategic sense".

Chief executive Gail Kelly added: "These are strongly performing businesses that we know well and that will expand our reach and capability in target segments."

Westpac said it did not need regulatory approvals for the deal, which is its largest since 2008.

Lloyds said: "The sale is in line with the group's strategy of focusing on the UK, rationalising its international presence and ensuring best value for shareholders."

The UK bank has been shedding overseas assets on a steady basis.

Already this year, it has disposed of its German life insurance business, sold its international private banking arm to Swiss wealth management specialist Union Bancaire Privee, and offloaded its Spanish retail banking business to Banco Sabadell.

The UK government currently holds a 33% stake in Lloyds. Last month, it sold a 6% stake in the bank for £3.2bn.

Lloyds has also spun off more than 600 of its branches under the TSB brand. The new bank will be sold off next year, as part of a process ordered by the European Commission to provide greater competition.

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