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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Maganti Tonga, Sept. 7) – The Shoreline Group of Companies, headed by Tongan Crown Prince Tupouto’a, has parted company with its main financier, the ANZ Bank.

At the end of August, ANZ ceased to do the billing for Shoreline Power, it closed down its branch at the Shoreline Headquarters and removed its ATM machine from outside the building.

Paul Pelzer, the General Manager for ANZ Tonga, said that Shoreline had pulled out all its bank accounts with the ANZ and redirected it elsewhere.

Shoreline Group, headquartered on Tongatapu, includes Shoreline Power, Shoreline Communications, Shoreline Property and other business holdings in Tonga and overseas.

Shoreline Communication Ltd. is the parent company of Tonfon Tonga, Tonfon Vava’u, Tonfon Ha’apai and Tonfon Eua. These businesses all manage voice, data and video transactions.

Paul said that despite their ceasing to do business with Shoreline, their relationship is fine and that Shoreline made a business decision after it renegotiated a finance package that ANZ had been a part of.

Paul said that when Shoreline told them they would be taking up the billing system, "we therefore did not need a branch up there and secondly they said they wanted the space so we said fine, we will move out".

The ANZ branch that had been based at the Shoreline building since April 2002 for the sole purpose of collecting electric power billing, moved out on August 20.

Now all power bill payments are being paid directly to Shoreline with the cash flow going directly into their operation.

With regards to a comment that was made by Shoreline Chairman, Crown Prince Tupouto'a on OBN Television recently about the need of Tongan businesses for a longer lending term than the five-years which are offered commercial banks in Tonga, Paul said that a five year loan does not necessarily mean that you have to repay the loan within five years time. He said that ANZ has a review period on all loans of any basis where they might structure the loan for a full review in five years.

"It is not as though we do not have a 10-year loan and like we are not saying to customers that you can only borrow for five years and you are going to repay in five years," he explained.

September 8, 2004

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