Westpac crisis

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PRESSURE is mounting on the board of Westpac, the giant Australian bank, to resign in the wake of its failed rights issue. Credit Suisse First Boston, which underwrote the Adollars 1.2bn (pounds 520m) issue, was left holding Adollars 883m of unsold shares. It failed to dispose of any of the shares in a special one-day tender offer last Thursday. Kerry Packer, Australia's richest person, is rumoured to be waiting in the wings if the Westpac crisis continues. He is said to have offered to buy 10 per cent of the shares in return for two seats on the board. Westpac is blaming the recession, the volatile Australian dollar and speculation in the bank's shares for the collapse of the issue.