The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced that it has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against ANZ in relation to a $2.5 billion institutional share placement undertaken by the ANZ in 2015.
ASIC has alleged that ANZ contravened s.674(2) of the Corporations Act by failing to notify the ASX that approximately $791 million of the $2.5 billion of ANZ shares offered in the placement were to be acquired by its underwriters rather than placed with investors.
ASIC is seeking a declaration that ANZ breached its continuous disclosure obligations and a pecuniary penalty order.
The regulator has also stated that the proceedings are to be listed for a case management hearing in the Federal Court in Melbourne on a date that is yet to be confirmed.
However, ANZ has denied the allegations, claiming that the shares in question represented less than 1 per cent of the shares on issue at the time and were taken up by the joint lead managers in circumstances where the book indicated the placement was covered at 103 per cent.
The major bank also claimed that it is not aware of a precedent for a listed entity to disclose the take-up of shares by underwriters in an equity placement.
ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally said: “ANZ’s disclosure in relation to the placement was in accordance with its ASX disclosure obligations as well as market practice, and we are defending the matter.”
Both ANZ and ASIC have said that they will not provide further comment on the matter.
[Related: ANZ to be charged with cartel conduct]
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Charbel Kadib is the news editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.