Westpac buys Lloyds’ Australian assets for $1.45 billion: Midday Roundup

Westpac has signed an agreement to acquire the Australian assets of Lloyds Banking Group in a deal worth $1.45 billion, it announced today.

The bank said the earnings profile and the synergies available in the Lloyds business would provide $100 million in cash earnings by the 2015 financial year.

“This is a value creating, straightforward transaction that makes both commercial and strategic sense,” Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said in a statement.

“These are strongly performing businesses that we know well and that will expand our reach and capability in target segments.

“Importantly the transaction meets our strict acquisition criteria and shareholders will see a benefit to earnings per share in fiscal 2014.”

Obama passes on Republican debt plan

President Barack Obama has rejected a proposal from Republican Congressional leaders that would have extended the country’s debt limit by six weeks, because it did not reverse the current government shutdown.

However, the negotiations are a sign a deal may be close.

“The President looks forward to making continued progress with members on both sides of the aisle,” the White House said in a statement, according to AAP.

Etihad doubles stake in Virgin Australia

Etihad Airways has doubled its stake in Virgin Australia, the company announced this morning, to a total of 19.9%.

“The strategic partnership continues to deliver significant revenue streams and other benefits to each airline,” chief executive James Hogan said in a statement.

Shares skyrocket on open

Aussie shares have surged this morning following Wall Street’s biggest one-day gain since January, as politicians in Washington moved closer to a deal which would end the current government shutdown.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 89.2 points to 5236.3 at 11:42am AEST. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 2.18% higher, up 323.09 points to 15,126.07.


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