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Suncorp Group confident of bank sale by mid-2024

Suncorp Group anticipates that approvals regarding its bank sale to ANZ will be determined by early next year.

During Suncorp Group’s annual general meeting (AGM) held on 26 September, chairperson Christine McLoughlin expressed confidence in the tribunal’s decision to permit the sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ Banking Group (ANZ).

Following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) rejection of their merger authorisation, both banks pursued authorisation from the Australian Competition Tribunal.

The ACCC declined to grant authorisation, citing concerns that such a merger could significantly reduce competition in the national home loan market as well as in small- to medium-sized enterprise banking and agribusiness banking in Queensland.

However, Ms McLoughlin assured shareholders that the sale of our Bank to ANZ is in the best interests of you, our shareholders, and all of our stakeholders.

“Suncorp is supporting ANZ in applying to the Australian Competition Tribunal for a review of the ACCC’s decision,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“We expect the hearing to take place in December this year, with a decision likely to be made by the end of February 2024.

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“As the matter is now before the Tribunal, it is not appropriate that I comment on this any further.”

If ANZ secures approval from the Tribunal, the transaction remains contingent on both the amendment of Queensland’s State Financial Institutions and Metway-Merger Act and approval from the federal Treasurer.

Assuming all approvals are granted, the expected completion of the transaction is projected to be around the middle of the following year, she stated.

“Our intention to return the majority of net proceeds in excess of the needs of the business to our shareholders following this remains unchanged,” Ms McLoughlin said.

Bank’s CEO announces departure

Amid the sale of Suncorp Bank, the bank also announced the departure of its chief executive
Clive van Horen by the end of the year.

Mr van Horen will depart on 24 December 2023, before taking the helm as CEO, commencing 15 January at Colonial First State (CFS).

During the group’s AGM, Group CEO Steve Johnston acknowledged Mr van Horen’s contributions to the bank and its improved performance over the past three years.

“Clive should be very proud of what the Bank has achieved under his leadership. We’re disappointed to see him go but wish him all the very best for the future,” Mr Johnston said.

Mr Johnston also highlighted the bank's enhancements in broker engagement and turnaround times in home lending.

“When we embarked on our three-year plan we were an outlier in terms of speed to approval, complexity of the process and broker satisfaction,” Mr Johnston said.

“Today we are a leader having scored number one for turnaround times for 32 of the 52 weeks in the FY23 year.”

He also highlighted the bank reported growth across both business and home lending, a cost-to-income ratio of 51.8 per cent, and continued low impairment charges.

Overall, the group’s net profit after tax amounted to $1.15 billion, with cash earnings reaching $1.25 billion, representing a “significant increase over the FY22 year.”

[Related: Suncorp banking chief announces resignation]

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