By Anshuman Daga and Indranil Sarkar

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -DBS Group has agreed to buy Citigroup’s consumer business in Taiwan, paying S$956 million ($706.6 million) above the net asset value, making the Singapore lender the largest foreign bank in Taiwan by assets.

The deal is part of DBS Chief Executive Piyush Gupta’s strategy of expanding Southeast Asia’s largest bank in overseas markets, having bought an $814 million minority stake in a privately owned Chinese bank last year and distressed lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank in India.

“The acquisitions we have made since the start of the pandemic have given us a platform to build meaningful scale in some of our core markets. This acquisition is no exception,” Gupta said in a statement on Friday.

DBS said it will take on over 3,500 staff from Citi’s Taiwanese business which has 2.7 million credit cards, 500,000 deposit and wealth customers and 45 branches.

The bank is funding the purchase with excess capital and said this will have no impact on its ability to pay dividends.

The transaction comes after Citi announced last year that it would exit retail operations in 10 markets in Asia as it refocuses on its more lucrative institutional and wealth management businesses.

DBS said it will pay cash for the net assets of Citi’s consumer business in Taiwan plus a premium of S$956 million. It said the deal is subject to regulatory approval and is likely to close in mid-2023.

Morgan Stanley is the financial adviser to DBS on the transaction.

Citing sources, Reuters had reported late on Thursday that DBS would announce the purchase on Friday.

Earlier this month, Citi struck a deal to sell its consumer business in four Southeast Asian markets to United Overseas Bank for about S$5 billion.

($1 = 1.3529 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Indranil Sarkar; Editing by Christopher Cushing)