ANZ to acquire Suncorp Bank in $3.3 bln deal

ANZ to acquire Suncorp Bank in $3.3 bln deal

ANZ to acquire Suncorp Bank in $3.3 bln deal

Australian banking giant ANZ announced yesterday a $4.9 billion Australian dollar (US$3.3 billion) deal to swallow regional lender Suncorp Bank -- one of the biggest takeovers in the sector for more than a decade.   

The takeover of the Queensland-based lender would push ANZ up one spot to make it the nation’s third-largest mortgage provider.    

But critics warned the deal  -- reportedly the largest in Australian banking since 2008 - would cut competition and concentrate the power of Australia’s big four banks, if regulators allow it to go ahead.    

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott described it as a “cornerstone investment” and a show of confidence in Queensland.    

“We know there will rightly be questions from government and regulators about the competition aspects of this transaction,” Elliott said in a statement.    

“As the smallest of the major banks, we believe a stronger ANZ will be able to compete more effectively in Queensland offering better outcomes for customers,” he added.    

Rival Queensland lender Heritage Bank’s chief executive Peter Lock warned that the takeover of Suncorp Bank would “simply increase the power of the major banks in Australia”.    

ANZ said it planned to raise Aus$3.5 billion to pay for the deal by offering extra stock to existing shareholders. The balance would be financed with existing capital.    

The takeover, which is subject to approval by the Australian federal treasurer and competition regulators, was expected to be wrapped up in the second half of 2023, it said.