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Firstmac becomes substantial shareholder in BNK

The non-bank lender has increased its stake in listed bank BNK to nearly 20 per cent, as John Kolenda sells his shares and steps down from the board.

BNK Banking Corporation Limited (BNK) has announced that non-bank lender Firstmac has increased its stake in the business to 19.9 per cent.

Firstmac, which already had a minority holding in BNK (just over 2 per cent), has now become a substantial shareholder, buying parcels of BNK shares for $0.70 per share. 

The move comes after two non-executive directors, including BNK non-executive director and major shareholder John Kolenda, decided to reduce some of their shareholdings in the business.

Mr Kolenda is selling the majority of his shareholding, reducing his stake in the company from 12.064 per cent to about 0.15 per cent. The value of his shares are around $9.8 million.

As well as selling his shares, he is also stepping down from the board.  

Similarly, non-executive director Kar Wing (Calvin) Ng is also reducing his shareholding from 7.28 per cent to 4.1 per cent. The value of his consideration is around $2.6 million.

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However, Mr Ng will remain on the BNK board. 

BNK CEO Allan Savins commented: “Firstmac will be an important institutional investor and strengthens our shareholder base. 

“We look forward to working closely with Firstmac as we continue executing on our growth strategy.” 

In a statement regarding the transaction, Firstmac said: “We have maintained a relationship with BNK Bank for over 10 years. We now deepen our alliance with the bank and look forward to working in partnership to grow our respective businesses.

Firstmac Limited has excess surplus capital and is pleased to deploy some of this into solid investments with strong growth prospects, such as BNK Bank.

We are looking forward to further developing our BNK alliance and partnership.”

Firstmac had previously sought to takeover the non-bank lender when it was still operating under the brand Goldfields Money in 2017.

Firstmac, its largest shareholder at the time, had offered to acquire all the company’s shares at a price of $1.12 per share. Based on the 22.52 million shares on issue, the offer was approximately $25 million.

However, the board rejected a takeover bid from Firstmac in October 2017. A month later, the little-known Kalgoorlie-based ADI surprised the market by partnering up with mortgage aggregator Finsure (which it later sold to MA Financial).

Firstmac reduced its shareholding in the group following the Finsure merger.

[Related: BNK launches review after ‘unsolicited approaches’]

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