Westpac in pole position for Lloyds Australia sale - sources

Reuters

SYDNEY, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Westpac Banking Corp isin pole position to pick up the Australian assets being sold byLloyds Banking Group, three sources with knowledge ofthe situation said.

Westpac was set to win the auction after rivals MacquarieGroup and a consortium led by Pepper Australia and GECapital dropped out of the race, according to thesources, who asked not to be identified as they were notauthorised to speak publicly about the matter.

Lloyds is selling its corporate loan book, motor andequipment financing businesses in Australia with a face value ofA$8.5 billion ($8 billion), other sources previously said. Thedeal, if successful, will be Westpac's largest acquisition sinceits 2008 takeover of St George Bank.

Westpac and Lloyds declined to comment when contacted.

A spokeswoman at Macquarie also declined to comment, whilePepper Australia could not be immediately reached for comment.

The sale by Lloyds will herald its eventual exit fromAustralia. The move is part of a global strategy to cut costsand shrink its international network to refocus on lending inthe British domestic market.

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