BANK South Pacific has acquired the National Bank of Fiji Ltd, its insuring arm Colonial Fiji Life Ltd and associated companies from Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Yesterday, BSP signed a share purchase deal with Commonwealth for the acquisition of the said Fiji-based financial group.
The transaction, however, is subject to regulatory approval by Bank of Papua New Guinea and the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
The National Bank, which traded as Colonial National Bank, was established some 130 years ago.
It is the market-leading life insurer in Fiji and enjoys a market share of around 20% of the Fiji banking sector.
The National Bank held more than K790 million in assets while Colonial Fiji Life accounted for an excess of K516 million as of June 30 this year.
The group reported earnings of K24.5 million.
BSP and the Fiji bank were merged in 2002.
BSP chief executive and managing director Ian B Clyne said the share-purchase deal was probably the “most important strategic move BSP has made”.
“This transaction positions BSP as one of the largest banking groups in the Pacific Region,” Mr Clyne said.
He said along with its operations in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Niue BSP was offering the people of the Pacific a locally-owned bank “with a unique understanding of their special financial needs”.
Mr Clyne said: “BSP is now uniquely placed to take advantage of the growing trade and business flows between Fiji, PNG and Solomon Islands.”
BSP chairman Noreo Beangke said the purchase of the Colonial group in Fiji would create significant added value for shareholders.
“It is a very positive outcome and BSP is creating a Pacific banking franchise which can be competitive with our Australian counterparts,” Mr Beangke said.