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Citigroup (C) to Incur $1.2-$1.5B Charges on South Korea Exit

Citigroup C Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason has provided updates on the company’s impending exit from South Korea’s consumer banking business. In this connection, the company expects to incur cash charges of nearly $1.2-$1.5 billion. These charges, pertaining to voluntary termination benefits and other related expenses, will be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2021 and in 2022.

Mason, further, said, “In terms of Korea, however, the economics of winding down the consumer business are much more attractive than continuing to run the business -- even including the cost of the voluntary retirement program -- given the reduced future operating costs and the release of roughly $2 billion of allocated tangible common equity over time.”

Following this announcement, shares of Citigroup gained 2.2% during the last day’s trading on investor optimism over the favorable impact of the planned exit on its financials over the long term.

It must be noted that, in April, Citigroup had announced a major strategic action, whereby, it will exit consumer banking operations in 13 markets across Asia and EMEA, including Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, and Korea. Making progress on this strategy, in August, the company announced the sale of its Australian consumer business to National Australia Bank NABZY for $882 million.

In total, Citigroup anticipates the release of roughly $7 billion of allocated tangible common equity over time. This includes the above-mentioned $2 billion related to the winding down of the Korean consumer business.

Citigroup continues to pursue all options including the sale of these businesses, with primary focus on best “results for its people, clients and shareholders.” Mason noted that management continues to have “good conversations with potential buyers of our consumer businesses” in the Asia and EMEA regions.

With these exits, Citigroup seeks to focus on investments in several areas like wealth division operations in Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE, and London to stoke growth. Further, these initiatives are expected to boost the company’s capital position, reduce expenses, and drive operational efficiencies.

Similar to other major banks like JPMorgan JPM and PNC Financial PNC, Citigroup’s long-term strategy to increase the fee-based business mix and shrink its non-core assets bodes well for long-term growth.

Shares of Citigroup have gained 43.7% over the past year, underperforming the industry’s rally of 55.6%
 

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Currently, Citigroup carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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