Discussions Continue On Purchase of Westpac
by PNG Business News - August 23, 2021
Photo Credit: PNG Buzz
Should the deal be authorized by the ICCC, Kina Securities Limited's position on purchasing Westpac PNG remains on the table, with a discussion of more competition in the banking market.
The bank recently met with the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission to explain its acquisition plan for Westpac PNG.
Greg Pawson, the company's CEO, pledged a K25 million investment in technology and digital innovation, as well as a 50 per cent expansion of Westpac PNG's branch and in-store network in the first three years following the purchase, and the creation of a pan-Pacific bank based in PNG.
“We will expand the distribution footprint of banking services across PNG to reach more Papua New Guineans,” said Pawson.
“We will retain the existing Westpac corporate structure, banking licence, operations and technology – and simply rebrand as East-West Commercial Bank.
“This exciting new bank brand will also be used for Westpac Fiji and positioned as PNG’s international bank brand.”
According to him, East-West Commercial Bank will compete directly with Kina Bank under this multi-brand approach, which is popular in many countries and will provide clients with a full range of competitive, innovative financial services.
“Expanding the distribution footprint will ensure more competition in locations across PNG which are currently only served by one bank or not at all.
“It’s a huge commitment to reinvigorate financial inclusion,” said Pawson.
Kina also sees the possibility of obtaining banking licenses in Australia and Singapore in the longer term, which would increase PNG's access and reach in the area.
Pawson proposed seven important and substantial public benefits to enhance competition, improve access, and create more jobs for Papua New Guineans in his speech.
“Kina will prevent job losses and retain all existing Kina Bank and Westpac employees.
“We will create 50 new PNG based jobs within the first 12 months following the acquisition,” he said.
“All of Westpac PNG’s existing senior management and executive positions will be nationalised and given to PNG local talent, including the country head position.”
Kina Bank's purpose, according to Kina Securities chairman Isikeli Taureka, is to continually increase the prosperity of the people, communities, and markets it serves.
“We strongly believe that this transaction should be approved by the ICCC,” he said.
Taureka also took the opportunity to address head-on 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.
“This transaction is in the best interests of the people of PNG, and the banking and financial services industry more broadly.
“The significant public benefits to PNG will be entrenched in the binding commitments by Kina Securities Limited, and enable increased competition with the current dominant force,” Taureka said.
Post-Courier (17 August 2021). “Kina Adamant On Westpac Takeover”.
PNG Business News - September 20, 2021
ICCC Denies Kina’s Purchase
Kina Securities Ltd's attempt to purchase Westpac PNG Ltd was denied by the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) (Westpac). After going through the ICCC Act's procedures, ICCC commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain verified this. On March 17, Kina Securities submitted an application to purchase 89.91 per cent of Westpac. “The outcomes and the findings were based on financial information provided and gathered by the ICCC,” he said. “The ICCC has now made the final determination to decline the authorisation sought by Kina Bank.” Despite Kina Securities' proposal to run Westpac as a distinct bank, he said the ICCC was not convinced there would be two independent banks because of a similar ownership structure. Other justifications include: Markets are now extremely concentrated and will continue to be so as long as there are few participants in the market. With the transaction, the number of commercial banks will be decreased to two. The planned purchase would raise the hurdles to entrance and expansion even higher, since the number of banks would be decreased, giving the two current incumbents more market dominance. “The ICCC is concerned that the proposed acquisition is likely to result in prices and profit margins increase,” he said. “Although Westpac has decided to divest its PNG business, it appeared that this would not immediately happen without the proposed acquisition proceeding. “Hence the ICCC considered that Westpac PNG would not be a significant source of competition for at least several years.” Kina Securities and Westpac were contacted for comment but did not respond. Reference: Mauludu, Shirley. The National (14 September 2021). “ICCC Rejects Kina’s Bid”.
PNG Business News - September 24, 2021
Kina Calls Off Westpac Deal
Kina Securities (KSL) has called off its deal to buy Westpac's Pacific division. Kina and Westpac Banking Corporation have mutually decided to terminate their purchase of Westpac Fiji and Westpac's 89.91 per cent interest in Westpac Bank PNG, which was intended to broaden Kina's market reach. The transaction was subject to numerous regulatory clearances, and the cancellation comes after Papua New Guinea's regulator, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission, denied Kina's proposed acquisition of Westpac PNG. The authority body stated that it was unconvinced that the acquisition would not significantly reduce competition or benefit the public. The verdict was made only two months after a preliminary determination reached the same outcome. Kina anticipates its full-year 2021 earnings to be in line with the Company's full-year 2020 results, after accounting for transaction expenses and projected revenue from the acquisition that is no longer expected. Kina’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Greg Pawson said about the termination, “Whilst we are disappointed that the acquisition has not proceeded, this in no way changes the Company’s strategy of seeking both organic and inorganic growth in PNG and the Pacific region. The outlook of the company remains positive.” Reference: Loop (22 September 2021). “Kina Securities Terminates Agreement”.
PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
ICCC Evaluating Kina Banks Acquisition of Westpac
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 - December 02, 2021
Adyton Resources hits significant copper at Feni Island, Papua New Guinea
Photo credit: Adyton Resources Adyton Resources Corporation has reported significant copper assays at its 100% owned Feni Island Project (Feni) in Papua New Guinea following the completion of the company’s maiden drilling program of five diamond holes (1,982m) in September. The initial objectives of the program were to expand the gold resource as well as test various induced polarisation (IP) anomalies for the potential of a copper porphyry system. Multi-element assays have now been returned with significant copper intersections being recorded from hole ADK004 in two zones – a shallower disseminated zone of copper mineralisation followed by a zone of massive sulphide copper mineralisation: Disseminated Cu + Au: • 35.9m (70.7 to 106.6m) @ 0.3% Cu & 1.1g/t Au Massive sulphide Cu + Au: • 6.4m (149.7 to 156.1m) @ 5.1% Cu & 1.6g/t Au Incl 3.6m (151.5 to 155.1m) @ 6.9% Cu & 2.1g/t Au Incl 0.7m (154.4 to 155.1m) @ 14.5% Cu & 2.4g/t Au Adyton Resources President, Executive Chairman and CEO, Mr Frank Terranova, said the assay results demonstrated Feni’s significant copper potential. “The results confirm that Feni could contain zones of high-grade copper within the extensive gold mineralisation and this confirmation of massive sulphide copper in the system justifies more work which is currently being planned,” Mr Terranova said. “The recent drilling program has highlighted the potential for a significant discovery to be made in the 1.5km long Kabang structural corridor. The corridor is lightly drilled, and going north is covered by younger volcanic cover, which has hindered previous exploration efforts – a focus of the next program will be exploring under this younger cover.” Located in a Tier 1 region along a mineral belt containing the world class Simberi, Lihir, and Panguna gold and copper projects, Mr Terranova added that the model at Feni was for a “Lihir-style” epithermal gold overprint on a deeper porphyry copper system.
PNG Business News - November 30, 2021
Weir Minerals’ new Trio® TC84XR live-shaft cone crusher improves safety, functionality and reliability
Weir Minerals has upgraded its range of Trio® TC live-shaft cone crushers. The Trio® TC84XR features all the robust design elements that have made live-shaft crushers a fixture of the mining and sand and aggregate industries for generations, while also incorporating the latest technology to ensure it remains integral to flowsheets long into the future. ‘The Trio TC cone crushers’ live-shaft design has been proven to perform in heavy-duty secondary and tertiary crushing applications. We wanted to build on this strong foundation. My team followed a comprehensive design process – we’ve reviewed and tested every inch of this crusher. While the TC84XR may seem familiar on the outside, we’ve upgraded its design and control functionality. The motor is larger and it has a much higher crushing capacity compared to equivalent sized crushers,’ Mark Utecht, Weir Minerals’ Director of Comminution Engineering said. ‘The result: we now have an incredibly robust, powerful and technologically advanced crusher that is easy to operate, has a low wear rate and uses less energy, which ultimately lowers operating costs,’ he said. While many OEMs have made the decision to discontinue their live-shaft cone crushers, Weir Minerals has resisted this trend, believing that – because every mining and sand and aggregate operation is different – there can’t be a one-size-fits all approach. Instead, Weir Minerals partners with its customers and empowers them to choose the machine best suited to their crushing needs. There are some applications and situations where pedestal (fixed-shaft) style crushers may be the more appropriate solution, which is why Weir Minerals continues to manufacture the premium Trio® TP pedestal style machine. Weir Minerals is the only global equipment manufacturer that offers both the TC live shaft and TP fixed shaft style machines. ‘The combination of the Trio TP and TC fixed and live-shaft cone crushers ensures that Weir Minerals continue to offer their customers the right technology, regardless of their site structure, operating conditions or application,’ Mark Utecht, Weir Minerals’ Director of Comminution Engineering said. Trio® live- and fixed-shaft cone crushers are made for modern mines and quarries with advanced hydraulics, wear resistant material and the latest technology. ‘This is really exciting for our customers, as they now have a real choice. The combination of our TC and TP series allows us to have an honest conversation with our customers on the options available to them and make a technological recommendation which truly meets their needs,’ Ekkhart Matthies, Weir Minerals’ Global Application Director said. Replacing existing live-shaft style machines on site with the Trio® TC84XR crusher is now a straightforward process because it has very similar dimensions and is a comparable weight to its live-shaft predecessors. And because it produces the same product, downstream changes aren’t required, which isn’t the case when replacing a live-shaft style machine with a fixed-shaft style machine. In other words, there is no need to re-design existing circuits. Technology upgrades The recent technology upgrades in the Trio® TC84XR crusher have improved its safety, functionality and reliability. ‘At Weir Minerals, we understand and appreciate the important role live-shaft cone crushers play in today’s challenging crushing applications. Combining decades of experience and first-hand customer feedback with innovative designs, the highest quality materials and latest in control technology we believe that our new Trio TC84XR cone crusher is the most reliable and robust live-shaft cone in the market today’ Ekkhart Matthies, Weir Minerals Global Application Director said. Engineered to perform in the most extreme applications, the Trio® TC84XR crusher is robust and easy to maintain and operate. It reliably delivers high crushing force and high horsepower in primary, crushed ore and quarry rock applications. The ability of the TC84XR crusher to handle variable feed and crush pebbles is also partly a result of its large motor; it’s been designed with higher power capability than comparable cone crushers. Ultimately, this translates to a higher potential crushing force and therefore increase in production. Another feature that allows it to handle variable feed, as well as deal with tramp material safely, is the fully-automated tramp-release and setting recovery system. The tramp release hydraulics can also be used to safely clear the crushing chamber should a sudden disruption in plant power cause a shut-down of the cone crusher. The socket assembly has been redesigned to improve sealing, which has optimised functionality and manufacturability by reducing the machining setups of the socket and seal rings. The Weir Minerals comminution team has also redesigned the countershaft assembly to remove welding and machining, while simultaneously improving venting and the dust seal. The Trio® TC84XR crusher, like the range of TP series cone crushers, can be fitted with ESCO® wear parts, designed with superior ESCO® alloys, they can be custom designed based on your specific requirements. With over 100 years of casting expertise and in-house engineering and metallurgy, ESCO transforms what was already a robust machine into one that, in the toughest conditions, is unsurpassed. All Trio® equipment is supported by the Weir Minerals unmatched global service centre network – with over 160 facilities worldwide. Further information can be found at https://info.global.weir/trio
PNG Business News - November 26, 2021
PM Marape welcomes K22 billion Budget
Photo credit: PM James Marape News Page - Treasurer Ling-Stuckey tabling the 2022 Budget Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has welcomed the tabling of the record K22.175 billion 2022 Budget by Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey in Parliament. He said it would help Papua New Guinea on the path to economic recovery as well as support successful delivery of the 2022 National General Election. “The total Budget of K22.175 billion is 9.3 per cent higher than the 2021 Supplementary Budget, with a revenue envelope of K16.190 billion which is 18.4 per cent higher than the 2021 Supplementary Budget,” PM Marape said. “The fiscal deficit for 2022 is K5.895 billion, which is 5.9 per cent of the 2022 Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Compare this deficit to K6. 6 billion or 7 per cent of GDP in 2021. “In 2022, the PNG economy is projected to grow strongly by 5.4 per cent, from K93 billion in 2021` to K102 billion. “The 2022 Budget will continue the budget repair and economic recovery path, with strong focus on non-resource sector growth, and at the same time support families and businesses. “There will be increased development and capital funding to high priority programmes and sufficient funding for key social sectors to stimulate economic growth. “The delivery of my Government’s third Budget today, despite the many challenges and obstacles, shows clearly the work that we have been doing. “It points to the fact that our path to economic recovery is correct, and with critical analysis by all multilateral Budget partners like Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, our positive trajectories show an increase in GDP for next year and beyond as well as a declining budget deficit trend. “The handing down of the Budget is the single most-important parliamentary occasion of any government. “With hangovers and effects of a slowed economy due to COVID-19, your Government has used the last three years of National Budget to ensure our domestic economy was functional and alive, and our crucial services were maintained. “I want to assure our people and all stakeholders in our economy that we are responsible and prudent to ensure expected outcomes of our Budget are achieved.” PM Marape said since his Government took office in May 2019, it had used the Budget to support schools, hospitals, COVID-19 programmes, road construction, SME funds, retiring old debts and contractual obligations, paying outstanding industrial awards, and many others. “Our 2022 Budget embraces our national outcomes including opening up all parts of our country; intervening in sustainable economy; starting up Porgera, Papua LNG and Wafi-Golpu for our economy; paying for our children’s education in 2022 and beyond; building new hospitals; ramping up support to Bougainville; clearing up projects like new Supreme Court Building and ensuring the 2022 General Election is fully funded,” he said. “All the above we are doing whilst maintaining strict discipline in sticking to our money plan, with our development partners observing our discipline to reforms. “Key in our reforms is to borrow low-cost US dollar denominated borrowings like the Australian $400-million dollar and the Japanese Government US$280million 0.01 per cent five-year grace period lending, which all came directly into our economy by way of Budget support. “I just want to assure our people and our economic stake holders that we are going through tough times, but we will use the Budget policies wisely to share the load of burden and also ensure key infrastructure like the 1900 kilometres of road we built the last two years all over rural PNG through our flagship ‘Connect PNG’ programme are continued.” Article courtesy of PM James Marape News Page