04/07/2008 - 12:19

Speculation grows on BankWest sell-off

04/07/2008 - 12:19

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Speculation is mounting that BankWest could be sold by its parent company HBOS Plc, according to a report.

Speculation is mounting that BankWest could be sold by its parent company HBOS Plc, according to a report.

Bloomberg reported today that shares in the United Kingdom mortgage bank have risen the most in three weeks on speculation of the sell-off, to above the 275 pence price for its ₤4 billion rights issue that was launched last month.

However doubts were cast over the rights issue when shares in HBOS fell below 275p to 258p but the company said the issue would go ahead. The issue was underwritten by Morgan Stanley and Dresdner Kleinwort and other sub-underwriters.

``There is speculation they (HBOS) might announce the sale of Bankwest to free up some capital.... It would be a sensible option to explore,'' MF Global Securities Ltd analyst Simon Maughan told Bloomberg.

The National Australia Bank has been touted as a possible bidder for BankWest, however NAB chief executive for Australia Ahmed Fahour declined to comment last week that it had talked to advisers in London about a possible offer.

"We will look at things from time to time that come along, but they have to meet a very strict criteria," Mr Fahour said then.

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