Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG)
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Macquarie Group (MQG.AU) is mulling acquisitions in the funds management industry, including Ausbil Dexia, in the hope of expanding its best-performing business of the past year, Deputy Managing Director Greg Ward said Friday.
Ward said funds management businesses such as Ausbil Dexia, which has been put on the block as part of the sale of its Franco-Belgian parent Dexia Asset Management, could be attractive as Macquarie looks to expand its footprint in its growth businesses of corporate and asset finance, banking and financial services.
"We're more interested in the annuity-style businesses," he told Dow Jones Newswires. "We would look at that (Ausbil Dexia). We're looking at a whole range of things."
Australia's largest investment bank on Friday reported a 24% drop slump in annual net profit to the lowest level in eight years after a slowdown in corporate dealmaking and trading income dragged on its securities and investment banking business.
Yet despite the widely flagged slump in profits and the imminent start of a 500 million Australian dollar share buyback, Macquarie remains well-capitalized enough to pursue a selective acquisition strategy, Chief Executive Nicholas Moore told reporters. The group holds A$3.5 billion in excess of minimum regulatory capital requirements on a harmonized Basell III basis, it said in a statement
Macquarie has long been an opportunistic buyer. In 2009, it bought U.S-based Delaware Investments in a move that has boosted its income from the U.S. to around 30% of the group total in the past two years, up from 8% previously. In recent weeks it has also been linked to acquiring ING Groep NV's Asian-based asset management arm as well as other Australia-based fund managers.
But speaking at a media briefing after the bank's results, Moore hinted that any acquisition would have to present a compelling return on investment to tempt Macquarie to spend its hard-earned cash.
"There are less opportunities out there than we saw than during the crisis," he said. "Things have basically re-priced to a level where we don't see exceptional returns in the market the way we saw with the motor leasing portfolio" that the bank bought for A$1 billion in 2009.
-By Caroline Henshaw, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-2-8272-4680; email@example.com