By James Callery

Investec is considering selling its Australian asset finance and leasing division to "improve returns and maximise value".

The bank’s Australian arm has employed independent advisors to identify alternatives for the division, alongside its Professional Finance business, including a possible sale, a partnership or continuing current operations.

The UK operation of the banking group, which is jointly listed in London and Johannesburg, will not be affected by the process.

Mike Francis, head of Investec Asset Finance in the UK, said: "Investec would like to reassure its introducers that this decision does not affect our activities in the UK and that Investec Asset Finance plc remains committed to providing professional service and quality products to the UK asset finance market and supporting UK SMEs."

The plan is to turn the Australian business into a "boutique operation", according to Ciaran Whelan, acting chief executive of Investec Group, which will focus on: Corporate Advisory, Property Funds, Aviation, Commodity and Resource Finance, Project Finance, Corporate and Acquisition Finance and Financial Markets.

The decision is expected to be announced by 31March 2014 and until then the divisions will run as usual.

UK-headquartered Lloyds Banking Group announced the sale of its Australian asset finance arm Capital Finance Australia and its corporate lending arm BOS International (Australia) to Westpac for approximately Au$1.45bn (€1bn) in October.