Kina Bank urges ICCC to approve its application to acquire Westpac

Greg Pawson

KINA Bank has urged the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) to approve its application to acquire 89.91 per cent shares from Westpac PNG.
In a meeting with the ICCC last week following a draft determination by the watchdog to decline the banks application, chairman Isikeli Taureka said the bank has addressed the contention by the ICCC that the acquisition would lead to tacit collusion and reduce competition.
“While the concepts of a duopoly and tacit collusion will be addressed in detail in our final economic and legal submissions, the significant disparity in market positions between Bank South Pacific and Kina indicate that such a result is impossible,” Taureka said.
Taureka said the bank was committed to improving banking services in PNG for the benefit of all Papua New Guineans.
“This transaction is in the best interest of the people of PNG, and the banking and financial services industry more broadly,” he said.
“The significant public benefits to PNG will be entrenched in the binding commitments by Kina Securities Ltd, and enable increased competition with the current dominant force.”
Chief executive officer Greg Pawson also said the bank was committed to a K25 million investment in technology and digital innovation, expanding the current Westpac PNG branch and instore network by 50 per cent in the first three years after the acquisition, and to creating a pan-Pacific bank based in PNG.
“We will expand the distribution footprint of banking services across PNG to reach more Papua New Guineans,” Pawson.
“We will retain the existing Westpac corporate structure, banking licence, operations and technology – and simply rebrand as East West Commercial Bank.”