Banking And Finance
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group are buying the banking arm of insurer Suncorp Group for A$4.9 billion ($3.3 billion) as the smallest of Australia’s significant lenders looks to revive growth in the nation after lagging behind rivals.
The deal announced will boost ANZ’s retail presence in a fast-growing domestic region and increase its assets in mortgages by nearly a fifth, helping it to overtake National Australia Bank Ltd for the third spot in the business.
ANZ had expanded rapidly in Asia, which has been unwinding over the past few years. It lags Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NAB, and Westpac Banking Corp by market value and some other metrics.
The CIO at Atlas Funds Management, Hugh Dive, who owns Suncorp and ANZ shares, said it was not offshore and not away from ANZ’s core capabilities. In terms of acquisitions, this was not a bad one.
ANZ plans to raise A$3.5 billion by issuing new stock to pay for the deal in this year’s most significant equity capital raising.
The buyout of Suncorp ‘s banking unit is subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition will boost ANZ’s mortgage book by A$47 billion to A$307 billion. The purchase shows how crucial mortgages are to Australia’s banks even as rising interest rates and cost-of-living pressures strangle house prices, with several economists forecasting a recession within a year.