ANZ TAKEOVER OF AMERIKA SAMOA BANK DELAYED

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By Fili Sagapolutele Special to Pacific Islands Report

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 2, 2000)---It may take a few more months before the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ Bank) can fully acquire Amerika Samoa Bank.

The takeover had reportedly been slated for May 1.

"There are still some issues to be finalized before we complete this transaction," said Paul Edwards, head of Group Media Relations for ANZ Bank. "However, May 1st is incorrect. In fact, it may take a few more months."

Edwards responded to recent media inquiries about the status of negotiations for the planned takeover of the local bank by ANZ.

Edwards said a public announcement will be made once the deal is complete.

ASB President Harold Fielding last week said through his secretary that the acquisition was delayed.

At least two ANZ officials have visited American Samoa since January to prepare for the transition. Bob Decourtney, manager of the new ANZ-Amerika Samoa Bank, was scheduled to arrive in the territory on Tuesday.

ANZ Bank announced last week that it was selling its Grindlays businesses in the Middle East and South East Asia and associated Bridlays Private Banking to Standard Chartered for $1.3 billion.

Following the sale, ANZ will accelerate the development of its banking, financial services and e-commerce businesses in its core markets of Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific, a bank statement said.

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