Suncorp accumulating cash

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Suncorp is accumulating cash. It already has a gross $4.9b pencilled in to come from ANZ for getting approval to sell its bank to the Melbourne-based giant, and now it is looking for another $300m-plus from the sale of its New Zealand life business.

Suncorp said on Thursday that it plans to sell its New Zealand life insurance unit, Asteron, to Resolution Life for NZ$410m.

The sale includes an upfront payment of NZ$250m, with the remainder due 18 months after completion.

Suncorp said its New Zealand general insurance business remains unchanged and part of Suncorp.

The transaction also won't change Asteron Life's business operations, which is expected to operate under the same brand with the same management team.

The deal is expected to take nine months to complete regulatory approvals and notifications with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Overseas Investment Office and Commerce Commission.

"We have simplified our portfolio in recent years," said Suncorp Chief Executive Steve Johnston. "We remain committed to the New Zealand general insurance market as part of our refocused group.”

Resolution Life bought the AMP life insurance operations in Australia and new Zealand in 2021 and 2022 for around $3b.

The question now is that once the ANZ deal is done, what will Suncorp do with the money (its insurance businesses need as much capital as they can retain to handle the worsening climate change outlook)?

But a capital return is the best bet, either some time later this year or in early 2025.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter?

Would you like to receive our daily news to your inbox?