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National Bank: Groundswell Of Support For Nz Bid

National Bank: Groundswell Of Support For Nz Bid

The Consortium formed to lead the New Zealand bid for the National Bank reports a groundswell of support within New Zealand and abroad since plans for the bid became public late last week.

“From our own prior analysis, we knew there would be tremendous support within New Zealand, but we had not expected so many people from all walks of life to offer their support’ says co-Promoter, Phil Verry, who adds that the Consortium is now building a confidential database to register such support.

“The support is noticeably strong amongst existing National Bank staff and customers, who are understandably apprehensive about the future of the bank; and from others wishing to invest”.

“Interestingly, those who have already contacted us include two persons involved with two of the major international banks that we were targeting as a potential funding partner, but had not yet contacted,” says Verry. “It is encouraging that they, themselves, have taken the initiative.”

“In addition, we have also received contacts from persons with relevant experience in the Australasian banking sector, at the highest levels, who have offered their services and support. We are having discussions with them, with a view to having them join the bid team.”

Mr Verry says announcements of such appointments will be made in the coming days. Until then, he’s keeping the exact strategy under wraps, because of the competitive advantage it gives the bid.

“The strategy is designed to enable BHH to offer the present owner, Lloyds TSB Group, the most attractive bid, which is the key to a successful Kiwi bid for the bank. It has been released under confidentiality to the managing director of one major share broking firm, who has conveyed his belief that it “… can work with the right backing”. This view has been further endorsed, in general terms, by media comments by other brokers, including in Australia” says Phil Verry.

“We greatly respect Lloyds and we are approaching this project with the utmost integrity and goodwill, with full recognition that Lloyds’ board has the primary duty to obtain the best outcome for its shareholders, so would not prefer any particular bidder. We see that aim as being entirely compatible with our concerns to promote the longer term interests of the National Bank, its staff and customers, which we imagine will be a secondary aim of Lloyds’ board, also ”.

In reference to one report, he says an unnamed analyst, who was quoted as believing the Aussie banks have insurmountable advantages, needs to think outside the square; and, for credibility, should declare whether or not his firm is independent of other bids.

“Most major firms have an involvement with a bid; so, for credibility, any such commentators need to be identified by name. What analysts will need to bear in mind is that other bidders, who are contemplating merger, branch closures and staff redundancies, face major challenges that we do not have”.

To obtain the right backing, Mr Verry says BHH has developed an attractive investment proposition for a partnering funding bank.

“We have several targeted partnering banks and the unsolicited expressions of interest are encouraging. We are pursuing all such opportunities, concurrently”.

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