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ASB Group Farewells Major Shareholder

Statement made by Ralph Norris, Managing Director, ASB Group


The ASB Bank Community Trust’s decision to sell its remaining 25% interest in ASB Group to the Commonwealth Bank signals another step in the evolution of the Bank’s 153 year history.

The ownership of the Bank was vested in the ASB Bank Community Trust in May 1988 as a result of the legislative restructuring of trustee banks at that time. The ASB Bank Community Trust sold 75% of its holding in ASB Bank to Commonwealth Bank in 1989.

As owner, and then part owner of ASB, the Trust has returned more than two hundred million dollars to the community. In the year ended March 2000 alone, the ASB Trusts distributed $35.7m to community projects across the Auckland and Northland regions.

The ASB Bank Community Trust and the ASB Charitable Trust will continue to use these names, and both the Trusts and ASB Group will continue their strong support and sponsorship of community projects and events, as well as sport and the arts.

“While our direct ties with the ASB Trusts have now come to an end, as longstanding partners in the Auckland and Northland communities I have no doubt we will continue to work closely together for the betterment of a wide range of people and projects” ASB Group Managing Director Ralph Norris said.

“The sale of the Trust’s remaining interest in ASB Group will strengthen its capital foundation, allowing it to accelerate its charitable and community grants programmes.”

No changes are planned to the management and operating style of ASB Group.

Shareholding Change Means Sovereign And Colonial Merger Can Proceed

Commonwealth Bank’s acquisition of 100% of ASB Group paves the way for the integration in New Zealand of ASB Group financial services subsidiary Sovereign, with Commonwealth Bank subsidiary Colonial.

Integration of these two organisations has been in prospect since Commonwealth Bank acquired Colonial in May this year.


- Ends -


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