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Westpac’s Pacific businesses sale denied

The Independent Competition and Consumer Commission (ICCC) has denied authorisation for Westpac to sell its Pacific-based businesses.

The major bank was aiming to sell an 89 per cent stake in Westpac PNG to Kina Securities. However, on Tuesday, it was announced that the ICCC had rejected the move.

In a statement, Kina Securities said the ICCC is not satisfied that the acquisition “will not have, or will not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in the PNG markets” and “will result, or will be likely to result, in such a benefit to the public that it should be authorised”.

“Kina is assessing the implications of the ICCC’s decision not to grant authorisation to the acquisition and is considering its options,” the statement reads.

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Westpac said in a separate statement: “Westpac acknowledges the ICCC’s determination and will continue to operate these businesses while it reviews the impact on the sale to Kina Bank.”

The deal was initially rejected by the PNG regulator in July, while talks continued in the last months.

At the time, Kina managing director and chief executive Greg 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.

Westpac’s Pacific businesses sale denied
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