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Citigroup to sell investment firm in Japan

Citigroup Inc will speed up the unloading of its non-core assets in Japan by selling an investment firm for ¥15 billion ($143 million), the Japanese media reported on Wednesday.

Citi’s core banking unit in Japan, Nikko Citi Holdings, will sell about a 60% stake in Nikko antfactory KK to Norinchukin Bank and Mitsubishi Corp as early as August, according to reports. Nikko Citi will keep a stake of nearly 10%.

Reports added that Citigroup, which has suffered more than $45 billion in writedowns and credit losses since last summer, has sold ¥500 billion worth of securitized products to Norinchukin Bank, the main bank for Japan’s agriculture and fishery cooperatives. Spokespeople for Nikko Citi, Norinchukin and Mitsubishi all declined to comment.

Citigroup has almost 30 different units in Japan including the holding company, ranging from asset management and venture capital to real estate and information services. Citigroup has said it planned to focus its resources in areas with better opportunities for growth, and it in June announced its retreat from Japan’s troubled money lending industry. (Reuters)