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AMP-AXA merger creates big stakes in NZ listed companies

Monday 4th April 2011

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The merger of AMP and AXA in Australia has created a 20.3% stake in New Zealand company Skellerup Holdings Ltd, which is over the 20% trigger for a takeover offer.

Takeovers Panel chief executive Kerry Morrell said AMP AXA had an application before the panel in relation to the Skellerup stake and it would be consistent with the panel's policy on upstream acquisitions to grant an exemption for the combined stake.

AMP AXA also confirmed that the application had been made and said the company had no intention of acquiring additional shares in Skellerup.

Skellerup's acting chief executive David Mair said he received a phone call on Friday advising him of the issue.

He said AMP Capital Investors had just under 20% of the company prior to the merger and it would be disappointing if they had to sell shares to get the combined stake below 20%.

"AMP have been fantastically supportive of our company over the last few years," he said.

The A$14 billion (NZ$19 billion) acquisition of AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd by AMP Financial Services Holdings Ltd became effective on March 31 and substantial security holder notices are currently being filed to NZX.

The merged AMP AXA owns 7.024% of Fletcher Building, 6.28% of Fisher and Paykel Appliances, 5.582% of SkyCity Entertainment and 6.209% of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

The situation is complicated as AMP's funds management arm in New Zealand, AMP Capital Investors, has always reported directly through to AMP's head office. AXA New Zealand's funds have their own arrangements and mandates but the combined stakes are being reported together.

Industry observers expect that over time the management of the funds overseen by the two industry players will evolve.

Australian media has reported that in that country the merged company controls 24% of the retail superannuation market, 19% of the retirement market and the same in retail funds.

In New Zealand the Takevoers Panel granted an earlier exemption to accommodate a combined stake in listed AMP Office Trust.



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