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Westpac gives investors an out following revelations

By Cameron Micallef
28 November 2019 — 1 minute read

The big four bank is giving investors who applied for the latest round of capital raising an out, following the recent AUSTRAC revelations.

In a statement to the ASX, Westpac said applicants who applied for shares under the share purchase plan (SPP) prior to the AUSTRAC announcement on 20 November 2019 can opt out of the option by 5pm on Friday, 6 December.

“Refunds to eligible withdrawal applicants must be for the full application payment. Refunds will be made as soon as practicable after the issue date and in the same manner as for invalid applications and for any scale back of applications,” Westpac’s announcement stated.

Westpac announced a $2.5 billion capital raising at the start of the month alongside its full year results.

The raising consisted of a share placement with institutional investors and a share purchase plan for retail investors. Westpac was aiming to raise $500 million via it’s share purchase plan from retail investors.

The funds will be raised at the lower of the placement price and the volume weighted average price of Westpac shares traded on the ASX during the five trading day up to and including the SPP closing date (Dec 2) less 2 per cent discount.

However, following the AUSTRAC scandal and subsequent discussions with ASIC, applicants are not held to this obligation.

The announcement follows news that the Australian anti-terrorism regulator, AUSTRAC, is seeking civil penalty orders against one of the big four banks for more than 23 million alleged anti money-laundering law breaches.

AUSTRAC also alleged that the bank’s oversight of its own program intended to identify, mitigate and manage the money laundering and terrorism financing risks of its designated services was also deficient. 

It’s been a tumultuous week for Westpac, with its woes now compounded by the exit of its CEO and a subsequent board restructure.

The share price of Westpac has fallen nearly 15 per cent over the past four weeks.


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