Oceania

National Australia Bank will buy Citigroup's local consumer unit for about $882.24 million, the companies said Monday, as the American bank exits the region while buy-now, pay-later rivals challenge the old credit card business model, Reuters reported. The deal consolidates more than 90% of the country's credit cards industry into the hands of Australia's Big Four banks, with NAB adding a million customers through the deal to become the nation's second-largest credit card provider. "The proposed acquisition ...
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The volume of mergers and acquisitions in Australia is already at its highest annual level on record with nearly five months of the year to go, the Wall Street Journal reported. More than $134 billion in pending and completed deals have been announced this year, according to data provider Dealogic. That already outpaces 2011, Australia’s previous busiest year on record, when just under $134 billion was announced for the entire year.
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Australia's record merger-and-acquisition (M&A) boom can only intensify in the near term as ultra-low interest rates and confidence that the economy will rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to drive deal activity, bankers said, Reuters reported. The market received a boost on Monday after U.S. payments firm Square Inc. said that it would purchase buy now, pay later pioneer Afterpay Ltd for $29 billion in the biggest-ever buyout of an Australian company. On the same day, Oil Search Ltd agreed to a raised $6.2 billion takeover bid from Santos Ltd.
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Australia’s Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman is calling on the federal government to ‘reactivate’ temporary insolvency protections that will help cushion small and family businesses during public health ordered lockdowns, SmartCompany reported. The number of businesses going into administration increased by 75% in the last week of June 2021, according to new data released by CreditorWatch.
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Australia’s Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombud is calling on the federal government to ‘reactivate’ temporary insolvency protections that will help cushion small and family businesses during public health ordered lockdowns, the Mandarin reported. The number of businesses going into administration increased by 75% in the last week of June 2021, according to new data released by CreditorWatch.
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A self-proclaimed prominent medical academic has been made bankrupt after trying to take legal action over the Whakaari/White Island disaster, Stuff reported. Dr. Miles Roger Wislang was made bankrupt after a hearing in the High Court at Dunedin last month. The application was brought by White Island Tours Ltd. over unpaid legal costs of $62,240.50. The costs arose after he applied for a judicial review application regarding the Whaakari eruption of Dec. 9, 2019, which claimed 21 lives. He argued no visits to the island should have been permitted while the mountain was at alert level two.
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Another front has opened up in the Pacific telecom cold war, with the Australian government committing to fund Telstra's acquisition of debt-laden Digicel Pacific, Lightreading.com reported. Telstra has confirmed it is in talks with local management of the Digicel Group, a Jamaica-headquartered firm that runs around 30 small telcos in the Caribbean, Central America and the south Pacific. The operator said in a statement Monday that the Australian government had promised to provide most of the funds should a deal be reached.

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Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd said on Thursday that it would reject a A$22.26 billion ($16.6 billion) takeover proposal from a group of infrastructure funds, the biggest of a frenzy of Australian deals fuelled by record-low interest rates, Reuters reported. The operator of Australia's largest airport said directors had unanimously concluded the proposal undervalued the airport and was not in the best interest of shareholders. If successful, it would have been one of Australia's biggest buyouts.
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New Zealand’s central bank said it will reduce monetary stimulus by ceasing quantitative easing, a surprise move that sent the currency higher as traders priced in an interest-rate increase as early as August, Bloomberg News reported. The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, led by Governor Adrian Orr, on Wednesday held the official cash rate at 0.25%, but said that it will halt bond buying under its Large Scale Asset Purchase program by July 23. The statement omitted a previous reference to the need for considerable time and patience to achieve its inflation and employment goals.
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A silver mine in Bosnia and Herzegovina that sat derelict through the years of civil strife that gripped the region from the early 1990s may soon be taken out of mothballs to benefit from an optimistic price outlook, Bloomberg News reported. Adriatic Metals Plc’s Vares project could resume production by the end of 2022 following a hiatus of more than three decades, according to Chief Executive Officer Paul Cronin.
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