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Chalmers gives nod of approval to ANZ-Suncorp deal

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By Rhea Nath
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3 minute read

The approval paves way for completion of the transaction, with a tentative completion date set for next month.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has approved the proposed purchase of Suncorp Bank by ANZ under the Financial Sector (Shareholdings) Act 1998 (FSSA).

To align with the FSSA approval, the transaction has a number of attached conditions including that for the next three years, ANZ is to maintain regional branch numbers throughout Australia, alongside ensuring no net job losses in Australia as a direct result of the acquisition.

ANZ said the conditions align with the commitments it made when it announced the proposed acquisition and are “not anticipated to impact the benefits expected to flow from the acquisition”.

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The Treasurer’s approval follows the granting of authorisation by the Australian Competition Tribunal on 20 February 2024, and the passage of the State Financial Institutions and Metway Merger Amendment Bill in the Queensland Parliament on 14 June 2024.

Shortly after, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) formally ruled out appealing the tribunal’s decision to greenlight the acquisition.

Completion of the acquisition remains subject to the commencement of the Queensland State Financial Institutions and Metway Merger Amendment Act, which the banks expect to happen before 31 July.

“Looking ahead, we’re pleased to be one step closer to this strategically important acquisition which will allow us to add scale to our retail and commercial businesses while enabling ANZ to more effectively compete in the Australian market. Our plans for the integration are well advanced and we are confident of the substantial benefits that will flow,” ANZ chief executive officer Shayne Elliott said.

Also commenting on the latest approval, Suncorp group chairman Christine McLoughlin said the bank’s board remains committed to returning to shareholders the majority of net proceeds following completion of the sale.

“Timing of the planned capital return to shareholders is dependent on finalisation of the completion accounts, receipt of a ruling from the Australian Tax Office, and approval from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

“We expect the capital return will occur in the first quarter of the 2025 calendar year.”

Suncorp’s chief executive, Steve Johnston, added that, given the conditions attached to ANZ’s FSSA approval, Suncorp had agreed to waive the $10 million per annum brand license fee that ANZ was to pay for a period of five years.

“This decision also brings us another step closer to the delivery of the jobs and investment package Suncorp agreed with the Queensland government as part of the sale process, with benefits not only for Queensland but across Australia and New Zealand more broadly,” he said.