Bank Of South Pacific To Buy Westpac Branches

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Operations in Samoa, Cooks, Solomons, Vanuatu, Tonga to be acquired

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 29, 2015) – Westpac today, 29 January announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its banking operations in Samoa, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga to the Bank of South Pacific Ltd BSP for A$125 million [US$98 million].

BSP is the largest Pacific-originated bank, with operations in PNG, Fiji and Solomon Islands, and headquarters in PNG.

Westpac however will retain its operations in its largest Pacific markets of Fiji and Papua New Guinea PNG as both the longest serving bank in Fiji, for 113 years and the first bank in PNG.

The General Manager of Westpac Pacific, Greg Pawson said that Westpac’s decision to sell its operations in these smaller Pacific nations "reflects our desire to increase focus on our growth plans in the larger markets of PNG and Fiji, where we have a strong history.

"These markets support our international aspirations by being closely tied to Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the strong flows of capital, trade, and migration."

Mr Pawson said that it is vital for Pacific Islanders to be supported by a bank that is an expert in operating in smaller markets, and BSP was best placed to maintain a high standard of banking services across these markets.

"We believe BSP is well positioned with deep local knowledge to take the great businesses Westpac has built in these countries into the future," Greg Pawson said.

The completion of the sale is expected to occur in mid-2015 and is subject to the parties obtaining necessary statutory, regulatory and third party approvals.

Prior to completion, Westpac will continue to own and manage banking operations in these countries and will continue to meet its customers’ banking needs. Following completion, Westpac will work to ensure continuity of services to customers and a smooth transition of operations in these countries to BSP.

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