Bank of Scotland, which recently bought BankWest, the Perth-based regional bank, from the Western Australian state government for $900m, is aiming to recoup $437.7m of that when it floats a 49% interest in the bank on the Australian stock exchange early next year. The flotation prospectus was published yesterday in Australia, and prices the 213.5m shares being sold at $2.05 each. The share offer opens on January 8, and trading in the stock is expected to start on February 15. It is not underwritten, and Bank of Scotland will retain any shares not sold. In the prospectus, BankWest predicts modest profits growth in the next few years. It forecasts a 6% increase in after-tax profits for the year to end-February, at $94.5m, and says the figure should rise a further 6% to $100.2m in the 1996-97 financial year. But the bank adds that pre-tax profits should show a stronger 16.9% increase, from $136.8m to $159.9m, in 1996-97. The sell-down of the Bank of Scotland interest was anticip-ated when the company emerged as the buyer of BankWest in September.
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