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Please explain: ACCC queries benefits of Suncorp takeover

The competition regulator has yet to be convinced about the public benefits of ANZ’s $4.9 billion takeover of Suncorp’s bank.

Apr 04, 2023, updated Apr 04, 2023
Suncorp said the takeover would deliver benefits to shareholders and customers (Pic: Suncorp)

Suncorp said the takeover would deliver benefits to shareholders and customers (Pic: Suncorp)

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released its statement of preliminary views on the proposed merger and called for more information from the proponents before it makes a determination in June.

“The ACCC’s preliminary view is that the information currently before it is insufficient to substantiate the nature, likelihood and extent of the public benefits, including ANZ’s estimates of future synergies that will be achieved and claims regarding public commitments to investment in Queensland or improvements in prudential stability arising from the proposed acquisition,” the ACCC said.

The call for more information was expected and the concern about public benefits of the takeover has been a sticking point since it was first announced last year.

The ACCC made the point that the competition between the Big Four banks had been muted and that it must be satisfied that the scheme would not lessen competition.

It was also considering the implications of a “counterfactual scenario” which included the bank continuing to operate within Suncorp and the potential of a merger with another second tier bank, such as Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Suncorp said it maintained the view that the sale of the bank to ANZ was in the best interests of its customers, employees, shareholders, the state and the nation and would result in a stronger insurance and banking system.

The ANZ deal has been attacked by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank on the grounds that it would reduce competition in home and agribusiness lending as well as deposits.

It would also deny Bendigo and Adelaide a potential merger partner.

“Suncorp will also provide a substantive response to the submission by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank,” Suncorp said in its response to the ACCC.

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“As outlined at the Suncorp Group AGM, Suncorp is of the view that a merger with a regional banking peer would not deliver the same benefits and is inferior to both a sale to ANZ and Suncorp’s own organic plan.”

Apart from ACCC approval, the deal needs to be signed off by the Federal Treasurer and the State Government.

“Suncorp acknowledges the ongoing constructive approach of the Queensland Government in working with both Suncorp and ANZ to esnure the proposed transaction delivers the positive outcomes for Queensland and the broader public,” Suncorp said.

 

 

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