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Is Wesfarmers eyeing AMP?


ColesColes parent company, Wesfarmers, has refused to comment on speculation that it’s scoping out wealth manager, AMP.

The Australian newspaper claims an industry source has confirmed that Wesfarmers has started inquiries into AMP’s true value.

Wesfarmers recently dropped its push for a financial licence, adding to speculation that it wants to gain a licence by acquisition.

It also recently sold off its insurance business to IAG, a move some market watchers believe could remove competition barriers if it were to acquire a financial business.

There’s also speculation Wesfarmers may look at Queensland-based bank and insurer, Suncorp.

But Wesfarmers’ MD, Richard Goyder, told reporters on Thursday that he won’t be commenting on “speculation like that”.

Instead he talked about strong growth in Coles’ insurance business.

Wesfarmers has been rolling out a number of financial services, including credit cards and personal loans, since it acquired Coles in 2007.

AMP provides financial services mainly in Australia and New Zealand, however, its subsidiary AMP Capital has international operations.

Goyder was also asked about whether Wesfarmers was interested in acquiring the Asian supermarkets owned by British supermarket giant, Tesco.

He said that international expansion was a risk, but the company was always looking out for opportunities.

“We try to fully understand risk and there’s a mixed track record of not just Australian companies going offshore but international retailers going offshore,” he said.

“We don’t have stars in our eyes about it. We are pretty pragmatic and would have to be convinced that it’ll be a good opportunity for our shareholders.”


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