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Sale of Suncorp assets stopped

The immediate sale of Suncorps’ banking and wealth management assets has been put off due to changes in the Australian and New Zealand financial services sector.

Friday, October 17th 2008, 6:44AM
Earlier the Queeensland-based company said it was looking at selling assets which include, in New Zealand, Asteron Life, Guardian Trust, Tyndall Investment Management, Vero and LJ Hooker.

Suncorp chairman John Story has confirmed, in a statement to the ASX, that discussions around the sale of the firm's banking and wealth management arms have ended for now.

Story said that the market events in the past week in particular have "determined that this process was unlikely to result in offers reflecting the operational or strategic value" of the two Suncorp divisions.

The reasons for ending the sales included changes in the Australian financial services sector as a result of international credit and equity market volatility and the move by the Australian and New Zealand governments to guarantee deposits.

"We have taken the view that the market needs time to take account of the initiatives put in place by the Australian Government and other national governments to rebuild confidence in the global financial system," Story said.

While talks have halted for now, Suncorp says it may resume discussions with parties interested in the sale of its businesses.

"The board is willing to re-engage with those parties who have, in the past, expressed strong strategic interest in these assets and is open to proposals that are realistic and offer fair value to our shareholders," said Story.

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