BoS shelves A$1.6bn sale of stake in BankWest

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The Independent Online

The Bank of Scotland has had to drop plans to sell its controlling stake in Bank of Western Australia in a move that would have raised upwards of £600m to reinvest in Net ventures around the globe.

Attempts to secure a buyer for BoS's 55 per cent stake in effect collapsed after Colonial, Australia's second-largest insurer, withdrew its interest after being taken over last month.

France's BNP Paribas had also expressed interest but with the most likely bidder now excluded on competition grounds, there was little likelihood of the sale raising anywhere near the sums BoS had hoped.

The Scottish bank was rumoured to have been asking over $4.50 a share. This would have implied a value of A$2.3bn for the bank as a whole and A$1.62bn (£613m) for its stake.

A formal announcement was made in Australia to tell BankWest shareholders the stake would not be sold.