Australian insurer AMP is holding tight to plans to demerge its Australian and UK arms despite National Australia Bank pouncing on a chunk of its shares.
Last week, NAB said it had acquired 34.3 million shares in AMP at £2.46 each, extending its “strategic interest” in the company to 5.4 per cent. It was reportedly aiming for a stake of just over 11 per cent.
AMP chief executive Andrew Mohl says NAB requested a meeting with the company in May and expressed an interest in acquiring AMP's Australian financial services business.
NAB was told it would have to put forward a “highly attractive offer with minimal conditions”. That was the last it heard from the company until last week's share purchase.
Mohl says AMP believes the proposed demerger is the best way to unlock the “true value” of the company.
NAB managing director and chief executive Frank Cicero says: “We await the detailed information to be provided in AMP's demerger documents. The National has no interest in acquiring AMP while AMP owns its UK business.”
Commerzbank insurance analyst Roman Cizdyn says: “I do not think AMP Australia really wants to be bid for but their share price has been absolutely pasted and they have got themselves into a mess, it is quite clear to see. It is not in control of its destiny.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “The National Australia Bank dimension does not change the fundamental question of how the demerger will affect UK investors.”