AXA Asia Pacific signals NAB takeover deadline

18th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Financial services firm AXA Asia Pacific on Tuesday said its support for a 13.29 billion dollar (11.59 billion US) takeover by National Australia Bank (NAB) could be withdrawn by the end of the month.

AXA Asia Pacific Holdings said that it may terminate its backing for NAB if it failed to satisfy the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which has already rejected the bid, by May 31.

Chairman Rick Allert said while NAB was working to address the corporate watchdog's concerns, he was "still unable to advise what the outcome of these discussions or actions may be".

"However, as ACCC approval is one of the conditions precedent in NAB's proposal, if a satisfactory conclusion is not reached by 31 May, your independent directors can then decide whether or not to terminate the agreement made to implement the NAB proposal," he told shareholders in Melbourne.

AXA Asia Pacific, its French parent company AXA SA and NAB can all end the agreement to implement the bank's takeover if no agreement with the competition watchdog is reached by May 31.

"Your independent directors will further consider this matter in light of the prevailing circumstances at that time," Allert said.

The ACCC last month quashed the NAB bid on competition grounds, but did not oppose a rival 12.85 billion dollar offer from Australian financial services group AMP.

AMP has said it is mulling a new bid for AXA Asia Pacific, but Allert indicated no fresh offer had been made.

"In the event that any new proposal is received from AMP, or anyone else for that matter, your independent directors will consider it on its merits subject to any legal restrictions under the current agreement with NAB and AXA SA," Allert said.

France's AXA SA and NAB agreed in March on the takeover of AXA Asia Pacific under which the French company would take its subsidiary's Asian arm while NAB would control its Australian and New Zealand businesses.

The transaction would have seen NAB become one of Australia and New Zealand's leading wealth management groups, while AXA SA stood to gain a valuable presence in Asia.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --

© 2010 AFP

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