Westpac remains committed to the sale of its Pacific businesses despite a competition regulator knocking back a proposed acquisition.
The sale of Westpac Fiji and the bank’s 89.91 per cent stake in Westpac Bank PNG Limited to Kina Securities Limited for up to $420 million was announced in December last year. However, on Monday, the PNG Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) issued a draft determination stating it is “not currently satisfied that the acquisition will not, or will not likely, have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the relevant markets identified”.
The ICCC also determined that the acquisition would not result in public benefits that outweigh detriments to the public.
On Tuesday, Westpac said it and Kina are currently reviewing the draft determination and will make further submissions to the ICCC before the final determination is released in September.
“Given Kina Bank’s commitment to financial inclusion and innovation, its proposal to retain all local staff and branches, and its intention to maintain two brands in PNG, Westpac believe that the transaction is in the interests of Westpac’s customers and staff and the people of Paua New Guinea and Fiji,” a statement released by Westpac read.
Kina said it is also committed to the transaction and believes it will “actually improve competition in the markets”.
The company will participate and present at a conference in Port Moresby next month where it has be invited to outline the commercial and economic benefits of the acquisition.
Final comments and submissions on the draft determination close on 20 August.
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