Friday, January 7, 2011

Heartland bank issues shares

Heartland bank issues shares, flags month-end listing.

A listing for the $2.2 billion merger of the so-called Heartland financial institution has been flagged for the end of the month after shares in holding company Building Society Holdings were allotted today.

Shares in the merged lender, which combines Pyne Gould Corporation's Marac Finance with Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies, are now transferable, though they aren't expected to list on the NZX until January 31.

Shareholders in CBS and SCBS have 13.04 per cent and 14.75 per cent of the new securities respectively, with the remaining 72.21 per cent held by PGC subsidiary Marac Financial Services Ltd.

PGC will distribute most of Marac's holding among its shareholders and place the balance, the company said in a statement.

"There has been strong support for this all the way along - not only from shareholders and investors but also from a much broader cross section - businesses, community leaders, politicians and others - all of whom want to see us succeed in our aspiration of becoming a bank," BSHL chief executive Jeff Greenslade said.

The new lender's issuing arm, Combined Building Society, was approved entry into the government's extended retail deposit guarantee, protecting customers' cash in the event of a default until the end of the year.

The scheme was set up at the height of the global financial crisis to secure credit lines for New Zealand's financial institutions.

Last year, the three financiers decided to form a locally-owned and listed lender with an eye towards securing a banking licence after the collapse of the finance sector left non-bank deposit takers under increasing pressure from the banks to source funds domestically.

That goal received a fillip earlier this week when Standard & Poor's granted it an investment grade BBB- credit rating - the minimum requirement by the Reserve Bank for it to issue a banking licence.

PGC still hasn't decided on the future of its funds management unit Perpetual Group, which includes cornerstone shareholder George Kerr's distressed asset vehicle Torchlight Management Kerr, who owns about 13 per cent of the company, was left out of the mix in the merger deal and isn't on the board of the new entity.

Shares in PGC were unchanged at 38 cents in trading today, having declined 21 per cent in 2010.


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