The corporate regulator has commenced civil penalty proceedings against ANZ for alleged continuous disclosure breach in relation to a 2015 institutional equity placement.
The alleged breached involved a $2.5 billion institutional share placement undertaken by ANZ in 2015.
In 2015, ANZ issued a release to the ASX announcing a fully underwritten and share purchase plan to raise $3 billion and then the next day released an announcement that it had raise $2.5 billion in new equity capital through the placement of shares.
ASIC alleged that ANZ contravened the Corporations Act by failing to notify the ASX that approximately $791 million of the $2.5 billion of ANZ shares offered in the placement was to be acquired by its underwriters rather than placed with investors.
ASIC is seeking a declaration that ANZ breached its continuous disclosure obligations and a pecuniary penalty order.
ANZ has released a statement defending themselves, stating that the shares in question represented less than 1 per cent of the shares on issue at the time and were taken up by the joint lead managers in circumstances where the book indicated the placement was covered at 103 per cent.
ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally said that ANZ was not aware of a precedent for a listed entity to disclose the take up of shares by underwriters in an equity placement.
“ANZ’s disclosure in relation to the placement was in accordance with its ASX disclosure obligations as well as market practice and we are defending the matter,” he said.
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