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Kina Bank’s Executive General Manager Lesieli Tavri has outlined plans for the banks proposed acquisition of Westpac

Lesieli Taviri, Executive General Manager for Kina Bank, gave a powerful speech at the Prime Ministers Back to Business Breakfast this morning, outlining Kina’s plans for the proposed acquisition of Westpac PNG.

Speaking to an audience of senior business leaders and government, Ms Taviri presented Kina’s bold ambition to create a newly branded bank for PNG, separate and independent from the existing Kina Bank brand; and to maintain the independent commercial banking licence of Westpac PNG.

“There’s been some talk that this acquisition would affect market concentration and create a duopoly – or create another financial services business that’s too dominant,” said Ms Taviri. “This simply isn’t true. After the proposed acquisition, the market share of the combined businesses of Kina Bank and Westpac PNG would be less than 20%.

“Our proposal is another first for PNG: To take a multi-brand approach that will improve competition; improve customer choice; and continue to disrupt the banking sector in this country in a positive way.”

She also addressed what she described as ‘considerable misinformation’ about Kina’s ownership and shareholders:

“To be clear – we are a publicly listed company on both the ASX and PNGX stock exchanges,” she said. ”Our major shareholders include the triple-A investment grade rated Asian Development Bank and numerous well-known global fund managers across Australia, New Zealand, the USA, UK and Singapore. They have shown great faith and support for PNG and the broader Pacific region, and most importantly for this acquisition. You will be aware that we completed a successful capital raising during 2020.

“Our founding shareholder, Fu Shan Investments, sold their remaining minority shareholding in Kina in 2018. This paved the way for many local PNG investors such as Comrade Trustees and MRDC to invest in our business and for the Asian Development Bank and other highly regarded local and international organisations to take a leading position.”

The proposed acquisition of Westpac PNG is subject to regulatory approval.