SUNCORP TAKES 19.99 PER CENT OF NEW ZEALAND INSURER TOWER

SUNCORP TAKES 19.99 PER CENT OF NEW ZEALAND INSURER TOWER

SUNCORP Bank has taken a 19.99 per cent stake in Tower (ASX:TWR), despite having its takeover bid for the New Zealand company rebuffed in late February.

In a release to the ASX today, Tower says Suncorp (ASX:SUN) has accumulated the shares at NZ$1.40 each, a premium on its offer of NZ$1.30 per share made last month.

Suncorp had attempted to swoop in to take ownership of the company through its subsidiary Vero after it entered into a Scheme of Implementation Agreement with Fairfax Financial Holdings for 100 per cent of shares at NZ$1.17 per share.

The Tower board has previously advised shareholders to get their own advice, but take no action on the indicative, non-binding offer from Suncorp until the board released a recommendation, and chairman, Michael Stiassny, says the advice remains unchanged.

"While we are pleased to see Suncorp has recognised additional value in Tower for a minority of shareholders, it is unclear whether the $1.40 per share will be available for all tower shareholders," says Stiassny.

"We would expect all shareholders to benefit equally from a sale and will be asking Suncorp to advise whether it intends to employ differential pricing in its proposal."

The company is also remaining engaged with Fairfax in relation to the previous scheme and other transaction possibilities.

Tower finished trading down 2.78 per cent this afternoon at $1.225 per share on the ASX, and down 2.19 per cent at NZ$1.34 on the NZE.

Suncorp finished up 0.38 per cent at $13.320 on the ASX this afternoon.

Business News Australia

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