On Wednesday, the big four bank announced that the agreement to sell a 89 per cent stake in Westpac PNG to Kina Securities was called off only a week after the Independent Competition and Consumer Commission (ICCC) denied authorisation of the acquisition.
“Westpac will continue to operate these businesses and support its Pacific customers while assessing other exit options in line with its focus on banking in Australia and New Zealand,” a statement issued by the bank read.
Kina managing director and chief executive Greg Pawson said in a separate statement: “Whilst we are disappointed that the acquisition has not proceeded, this in no way changes the company’s strategy of seeking both organic and inorganic growth in PNG and the Pacific Region, and the outlook for the company remains positive.”
The deal was initially rejected by the PNG regulator in July, while talks continued last month.
At the time, Mr Pawson said the acquisition strategy would see the group rebrand Westpac’s Pacific businesses, including Westpac PNG and Westpac Fiji, to East West Commercial Bank – a new brand that would compete directly with Kina in the local market.