France's AXA drops bid for Australian subsidiary

18th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, Oct 18 (AFP) - Shares in Australian financial services group AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd tumbled Monday after its France-based parent AXA SA withdrew a AUD 3.1 billion (USD 2.2 billion) offer to take 100 percent control, dealers said.

SYDNEY, Oct 18 (AFP) - Shares in Australian financial services group AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd tumbled Monday after its France-based parent AXA SA withdrew a AUD 3.1 billion (USD 2.2 billion) offer to take 100 percent control, dealers said.

In a statement issued in Paris on Sunday, AXA SA said talks on buying the 48.3 percent of the Australia-based subsidiary that it did not already own fell apart over price, despite a raised offer of AUD 4.05 per share, up from AUD 3.75 previously.

In a letter to the management of the Australian company, AXA SA chief executive officer Henri De Castries said the increased price represented a premium of approximately 25.5 percent over the closing share price for AXA APH on August 5, the day before the original offer was made.

However, the Australian-based subsidiary's independent committee told the parent company Sunday that it had decided not to recommend the offer, AXA SA said.

At 10:10 a.m. (0010 GMT) shares in Sydney-based AXA APH were down 34 cents or 8.3 percent at AUD 3.76.

AXA SA said it remained committed to the region and confident in the management of its subsidiary.

"The commitment of the AXA Group to the Asia-Pacific region and to the group's subsidiaries that are based there, the confidence in the management and staff of AXA APH, are unchanged and intact," AXA SA said in a statement.

"The development of the group's activities in this region, where we will continue to invest significantly, remains one of the key axes of our strategy."

AXA APH first said in August that it was starting talks with its French parent about the parent company buying out minority shareholders following a70.4 percent drop in first-half net profit to AUD 194 million.

The French company said, however, it would only go ahead with the deal if the team of independent directors, its own advisory board and the Australian government all gave it their approval.

AXA SA said at the time it wanted to increase its profile and exposure in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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