Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Smart Selldown of Kiwibank

As one of the three original independent directors of Kiwibank, I recall some boardroom discussions in its fledgling days. Back then, about 2002-2004, NZ Post was the national postal service and it also offered some personal banking services. Some of us cheekily suggested that one day it might grow into a bank that also sold a few postage stamps. 
None of us could anticipate then quite how few postage stamps that might become, nor that only a decade later the majority of NZ Post Group's profit would be generated by the Bank.
I've been off the board and simply an interested observer for a few years now. Yesterday's announcement that NZ Post is selling 45% of its shareholding looks like a logical and smart move for everyone: it frees up cash for NZ Post (with a one-off dividend likely to go to the Government); and it gives the Bank two new (taxpayer-owned) shareholders whose business is long-term investment and who have capital to invest if they wish to see the Bank grow faster towards becoming a real competitor for the four Australian majors.
This looks like the corporate equivalent of moving out of home for the first time: it's another step in the Bank maturing and growing to its potential. 
Congratulations and good luck! I'll keep watching.