Shareholders in National Australia Bank (NAB) have overwhelmingly approved the spin-off of its Clydesdale Bank arm.
At a general meeting in Melbourne, almost 97.1 per cent of the votes cast were in favour of demerging the Glasgow-based lender, which is set to float on the London market next month, valued at up to £2.1 billion.
Institutional investors are being offered a 25 per cent stake in Clydesdale through the initial public offering (IPO), with NAB shareholders holding the remaining 75 per cent. They will receive one Clydesdale share for every four they hold in the Melbourne-based group.
NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said: “Today is an important day for NAB. It is the start of a new era for both Clydesdale Bank, and indeed NAB here in Australia. It will allow Clydesdale Bank to focus on its home market, with oversight and direction from a local board and management team.
“It will also enable Clydesdale Bank to leverage their unique position in the UK to deliver returns for shareholders.”
Shares in Clydesdale – which also owns the Yorkshire Bank brand – are due to start conditional trading on the London Stock Exchange on 2 February.
Ken Henry, attending his first meeting as the new chairman of NAB, said: “Clydesdale Bank has been a significant factor in NAB shareholder returns not being at the level that we have wanted, nor competitive with our Australian peers.
“Post-demerger, NAB will be focused on our Australian and New Zealand core businesses, which have historically delivered higher return on equity and capital generation than our overseas operations.”
He added that the demerger of Clydesdale “will create two successful banking businesses that can move forward with confidence and focus on strengths in their own markets”.
Clydesdale, led by chief executive David Duffy, has been owned by NAB since 1987.