Brought to you by:

Competition tribunal concludes Suncorp Bank sale hearing 

The Australian Competition Tribunal has concluded a two-week appeal hearing into whether the $4.9 billion sale of Suncorp Bank to ANZ should go ahead. 

The tribunal panel, comprising Justice John Halley, Jill Walker and Diana Eilert, is expected to deliver a decision by February 20 after hearings ended in Sydney on Friday. 

ANZ and Suncorp lodged appeals against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) rejection of the proposed deal in early August.  

The ACCC accepted there were benefits for both companies from the transaction, but said those didn’t outweigh the detriments, and it wasn’t satisfied the acquisition wouldn’t “substantially lessen competition” in areas of the banking market. 

Suncorp in its appeal submission has said there’s no realistic commercial likelihood of an alternative acquisition of the banking division by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and it has highlighted benefits from becoming a company solely focussed on insurance. 

The bank divestment would enable more efficient operation of its insurance business, supporting lower premiums, improved resilience and innovation, the company has said. 

In directions issued on Friday, the Australian Competition Tribunal gave leave for ANZ and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to provide new documents that didn’t exist at the time of the ACCC decision, including latest financial reports. 

The tribunal can vary or set aside an ACCC decision on the deal, which also requires Federal Treasurer approval and Queensland legislative amendments. 

Suncorp and ANZ have previously said the sale could completed by the middle of next calendar year.