ICCC Evaluating Kina Banks Acquisition of Westpac
by PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
Kina Securities Ltd (KSL) has sent an application to the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) for approval of its proposed acquisition of Westpac's Pacific company.
Through the authorisation process, ICCC will determine the acquisition's competition consequences and public gains, according to Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain.
This will be achieved by a public review process in which the ICCC will accept comments from stakeholders and the general public before reaching a definitive judgment about whether or not to approve the acquisition under the ICCC Act.
“The process that ICCC will conduct is very transparent and it is very important for the people of this country, especially from the finance and banking sector, to get themselves involved,” Ain said. “The process has now started and we are formally inviting the people in the finance and banking sector, other commentators, interested parties and the public to the process on assessment. We are looking forward to seeing a lot of submissions come in and this process starts effectively today (Friday).”
KSL is awaiting ICCC approval to purchase 89.91 per cent of Westpac PNG Ltd.
The proposed acquisition has reached the threshold needed under section 81 of the ICCC Act for mandatory notification and obtaining ICCC approval to continue with the acquisition, according to the ICCC.
The authorisation process, according to Ain, has no bearing on the ICCC's decision on who buys.
“This is something that ICCC does not or is not required by law to do this,” he said. “It’s outside of the ICCC’s role.”
PNG Business News - April 19, 2021
Kina Bank Shareholders Approve Acquisition
At its General Meeting on April 15th in Port Moresby, Kina Securities Limited (KSL) shareholders unanimously voted in favour of Kina Bank's takeover of Westpac PNG and Westpac Fiji. CEO Greg Pawson said in a statement that the shareholders' vote of confidence was "amazing." “We are very excited about this opportunity, and creating a stronger and more effective banking competitor for PNG and Fiji. The acquisition is perfectly aligned with our current strategy to be a dynamic and innovative full-service regional bank with a market-leading digital platform.” Following the planned takeover, a newly branded bank will emerge, independent and distinct from Kina Bank, and it will compete directly with all commercial banks in Fiji and PNG, including Kina Bank. “It’s a really positive story and it will be a great outcome for customers from a service and product perspective. Creating a brand-new bank means there will be more customer choice, more competition and more innovation. With the proposed acquisition we will be able to introduce fee free banking options; a new suite of world-class digital products and services; and we will be able to re-price business lending, making it more cost-effective for business customers to access funding.” According to Pawson, there would be no reduction in rivalry or the possibility of a duopoly or market domination. He claims that the planned transaction would position Kina to return banking to its roots on a larger scale, with improved customer support and an emphasis on lowering banking costs in both PNG and Fiji. According to Pawson, one of the major advantages of this proposed transaction is that it would enable local investors to engage by equity raising and provide opportunities for PNG investors to be a part of an ASX/PNGX listed firm, joining many other local PNG investors including Comrade Trustee Services Limited and MRDC. “It means everyone has the opportunity to be an active shareholder in an ASX/PNGX listed company which provides more local investment opportunities, this is important for the region,” added Pawson. In both Fiji and PNG, regulatory approval is needed for the acquisition.
PNG Business News - June 01, 2021
Kina Bank appoints Chief of Staff, new executive role to drive transformation
Kina Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Judith Ugava-Taunao as Chief of Staff reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In this new senior leadership role, Judith will take a position on the Executive Committee, demonstrating Kina’s continued commitment to promoting PNG women into leadership roles. Judith joins Kina Bank with a distinguished career, having worked in international development, organisational transformation, and human resource development and leadership. For 18 years she has built a career that spans across international borders and sectors. Prior to joining Kina Bank, Judith was at Oil Search where she served as the Vice President, Change Management Lead and as the General Manager for OSL’s Citizen Development Program. “I am pleased to join the Kina Bank team at a time when the opportunity to introduce new and transformative change in the banking industry is upon us,” said Ms Ugava-Taunao. “It is exciting to consider Kina’s growth over the next five years and the drive to bring improved financial services to Papua New Guineans who want more out of their banks.” In her new role, Judith will be responsible for developing and delivering key strategic, business priorities. The appointment is critical to the success of the business, ensuring the bank delivers on its long-term aspirations. Judith adds significant strength to the executive team. Greg Pawson, Kina Bank’s Chief Executive Officer said: “I am delighted that Judith is joining the Kina Bank team. She has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience that will benefit the Bank in its transformational journey. Judith’s appointment also demonstrates our continued commitment to promoting women into leadership roles. It’s an exciting time of growth and expansion for us and with Judith’s expertise in business development and change management, we have an exciting future ahead.”
PNG Business News - June 21, 2021
Westpac Acquisition Awaiting Clearance
Kina Bank's acquisition of Westpac's operations is awaiting clearance from the treasury and the ICCC. Kina Bank has submitted an application to BPNG to purchase Westpac Business, which has been referred to the Treasury for a final decision, according to BPNG assistant governor Ellison Pidik. He added that all relevant information about the purchase application had been given to the Minister in charge and that BPNG is awaiting his answer to the letter issued by BPNG Governor Loi Bakani. After receiving a response, BPNG will proceed to the next step of alerting Kina Bank of the decision. Kina Bank applied to them and the Independent Consumer Competition Commission (ICCC) as the appropriate licensing agencies to conduct the application, according to Pidik. According to Pidik, Kina Bank's application to the ICCC is for competition purposes and for the ICCC to ensure that the appropriate regulatory processes under the ICCC Act are followed. Pidik went on to say that Kina Bank's application to BPNG went through the necessary channels and is currently awaiting a response from the Treasurer. Meanwhile, ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain reiterated Wednesday that Kina Bank's authorization letter to purchase 89.91 per cent of shares in Westpac Bank (PNG) Limited (Westpac PNG) is still seeking final determination. According to Ain, Kina Bank's application is still being evaluated, with a final decision likely by August of this year. He explained that before the final judgment is made, all parties must agree with the ICCC on the publishing of a draft decision so that the applicant and other stakeholders can submit their case based on the draft findings. “We will call a conference and listen to the applicant and other relevant stakeholders to present their case based on the draft determination and after that, once we have come to an agreement, we (ICCC) will then proceed to progress the final determination decision for this acquisition.” Reference: Kamus, Maxine. Post-Courier (17 June 2021). “Westpac Purchase Pending Approval”.
PNG Business News - February 05, 2023
PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (TPA) and Bougainville TPA signs MOU
The Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry reached another milestone recently when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Tourism and Promotions Authority (TPA). The MOU paves the way forward for both parties to continue bilateral partnership based on the understanding of tourism and promotions in Bougainville. The MOU was signed by the PNG TPA and the ABG Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry on the understanding relating to a joint partnership for the protection and preservation of tangible and intangible culture, development and promotion of tourism, contemporary culture and the arts and sustainable tourism in the autonomous region of Bougainville. ABG Vice President and Minister for Commerce Trade and Industry, Hon. Patrick Nisira (MHR) acknowledged the PNGTPA for its tremendous support so far since the first MoU was signed in 2016. The support has cemented many agreements already signed and has proven that Bougainville is truly a tourism destination that is worth investing time and money on. Mr. Nisira acknowledged the PNG TPA officers for their continuous negotiation with the Bougainville partners in pushing for significant income generating programmes to proceed in the region. “Standing here today it gives me great pleasure to witness and participate in this significant event that will go down in history books of this nation to be. We are here today to mark this important event on the signing of the MOU between my ministry and the department of national government and PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (PNG TPA).” This agreement adds value to our collective vision, ideas and consultations that the local tourism and cultural practitioners in both government and private sectors, he said. “As a way forward the agreement presents a realistic and workable approach to tourism development and its sustainability in the region.” “The MOU also sets out a framework for future development for tourism emphasizing on effective and determined and holistic approaches.” He said that the agreement generally outlines the pros and cons of tourism development in Bougainville and the framework and strategy of reaching the targeted goals and vision earmarked to reaching the overarching goals of economic building and development. Deputy Chief Secretary for Operations Anthony Koiri approved and signed the MOU on behalf of the Bougainville Public Service Chief Secretary who is on sick leave at the moment. The signing was witnessed by the staff of the PNG Tourism Promotions Authority (PNGTPA), Department of Commerce, Trade and Industry, senior officers and a small crowd at the Bel Isi park.
PNG Business News - February 05, 2023
PNGEITI POSITION ON PORGERA MINE LEGACY TAX ISSUES
The PNGEITI Head of Secretariat Mr. Lucas Alkan says all parties to the Pogera Mine must adhere to rules governing the extractive industry, particularly when dealing with fiscal matters that must be administered and observed according to law. His comments follow a news article on The National citing the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) that unmet tax obligations of the Pogera mine stood in the way to expedite the mine re-opening process. Mr. Alkan says a workable and timely strategy that does not impinge on basic laws is a way forward. Below is the full comment on this issue. “The Papua New Guinea Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PNGEITI) commends The National newspaper for attempting to bring to light what appears to be the final outstanding issue (among others) in the Porgera Mine recommencement negotiations (more on this in footnote). We’ve noted from the reporting that taxation matters are legacy issues that appear to be standing in the way for the multi-million-kina Porgera Gold Mine to re-open. We have observed that the Government was on track to conclude negotiations and re-open the Mine by June last year, however this did not eventuate as anticipated. Attempts to reopening the Mine in the second half of last year was not feasible due to the national general elections and the formation of government. It appeared that all negotiations were concluded and a new Porgera Mining Agreement Framework was in place for the Mine to be re-opened in the first quarter of this year. Surprisingly, we learn that an old Porgera Tax liability dispute is standing in the way for the Mine to be re-opened. The early recommencement of the Mine, preferably within the first quarter of this year is critical for the country as the lead time required for mobilizing resources and the significant start-up capital needed to get the mine back into its full operating capacity would be a significant challenge. On this, we are aware there are also discussions going on with the developer and the government as to who is going to meet the startup cost but we understand Barrick Niugini Limited might meet the full cost of starting up the Mine and government would refund later but unsure as to whether this understanding has been reached or not yet. With regards to the current standoff, the EITI based on its global best practice principles is of the view that the existing law governing taxation matters must dictate or take precedence over any political intervention. We do not know the specifics of the on-going tax matter but understand that it is related to a tax dispute concerning the ‘old Porgera Mine’. If it is a significant amount of tax owed by Barrick to the Government based IRC’s audit in 2013 then it is a legal tax obligation that Barrick and its joint venture partners need to settle as required by law. We fail to understand as to why the old Porgera tax obligation/liability clause was inserted into the new Porgera Mining Framework Agreement making it a condition to resolve this legacy tax issue before reopening the Mine. If whatever was reported and commented by PM Marape recently is true then Barrick Niugini Limited and the State need to speed up the negotiation process and resolve this dispute immediately. Both parties should exercise good faith – Barrick Niugini Limited should not pull strings on this old Porgera tax liability matter and delay the re-opening of the Mine. It is understood the State (IRC) may not easily forego if there is a substantial amount of tax liability to be paid by the operator. Whatever the parties decide to do, they should resolve the tax liability issue through the due process of law but allow the Mine to re-open immediately under the New Porgera Framework Agreement. Political intervention is not recommended to resolve this dispute as this can undermine investor confidence, set bad precedence for the Government and create an uneven playing field for project developers. Barrack Niugini Limited should not put undue pressure on the State to resolve this matter politically in order to re-open the mine as it is not a best business practice. All stakeholders and the citizens have the right to know the specific issues or the nature of this tax liability issue between Barrick Niugini Limited (BNL) and the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) as the continued delay in re-opening the Mine continues to have negative consequences on the economy. The prolonged delay has not only resulted in significant revenue loss to the Government (including the provincial and local level governments in the impacted resource area) but also loss of employment, business opportunities and spin-off benefits to the landowners and the wider communities. The shutting down of the Mine 3 years ago has had significant negative consequences on the economy including the current foreign exchange shortage that has constrained business operations in the other sectors of the economy. Porgera Mine had been a good source of foreign exchange inflows and its continued shutdown will definitely not going to contribute to the 4% economic growth (that was largely to be driven by the extractive sector) projected for by the World Bank for last year and the real GDP growth of 4% projected for this year in the 2023 National Budget. PNGEITI commends the transparent negotiation process to date that took substantial amount of time and effort to ensure the interests of all parties were reflected in those agreements. We encourage all parties to continue to respect and observe the laws of the land in this dispute resolution process to address the tax liability issue. We believe that a win-win situation for both parties (Government and Barrick) is to re-open the mine first and work together to resolve the outstanding tax liability dispute later going forward.
PNG Business News - February 02, 2023
Weir Minerals releases the 6th edition of the Warman® Slurry Pumping Handbook, the definitive resource for slurry pumps
Photo: The Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook is the definitive guide for most slurry pumping applications. Weir Minerals, manufacturer of the industry-leading Warman® slurry pump, has released the latest edition of their coveted Warman® Slurry Pumping Handbook. The 6th edition, compiled by the most trusted name in slurry pumps, features detailed engineering data required for most slurry pumping applications. Drawing on decades of Weir Minerals’ inhouse expertise in innovative engineering and slurry pumping technology, the new handbook has updated reference material based on new learnings, improved understanding and technological developments within the mining industry. With customers always in mind, the handbook aims to empower engineers to achieve optimal performance from their Warman® slurry pumps. An increased global focus on the environment, energy consumption and water conservation will influence slurry pump design and considerations – making this latest handbook an essential tool for all current and future pump engineers. “Pumping slurry has many challenges and I’m excited to publish our latest handbook, packed with fundamental theory, application advice, standard practices and latest Warman learnings from the field; all aimed to help our customers, present and future, deliver with excellence.” Marcus Lane, Director, Slurry Pumping Technology Group Weir Minerals are continually striving to shape the next generation of smart, efficient and sustainable solutions with cutting-edge science and innovation. The comprehensive handbook includes over 140 pages of detailed information, including performance charts, impeller design, part configuration, assembly and slurry considerations – fully supported by accurate technical renders and specifications. “The high quality of the reference material in this essential resource reflects the leading status of the Warman slurry pumps. As the industry leader, we have a responsibility to develop our future engineers; we will make the latest version of the Warman Slurry Pumping Handbook available not only to our customers, but also to the leading schools worldwide, so they can learn from the best in the industry.” John McNulty, Vice President Global Engineering & Technology. As part of Weir Minerals’ commitment to investing in STEM education and developing the next generation of engineers, copies of this essential resource will be gifted to the leading mining and engineering educational facilities around the world, including the winner of the 2022 Warman Design & Build competition, Deakin University in Australia.