Tower lodges cross appeal to NZ High Court

After having a proposed takeover by Suncorp subsidiary Vero Insurance declined by New Zealand regulators, Tower has lodged a cross appeal against the decision.

In a statement to the ASX, Tower advised that it has now formally lodged its own cross appeal against the New Zealand Commerce Commission's decision to decline Vero's application to wholly acquire Tower.

The deal would have seen Vero acquire 100% of Tower, which currently stands as the only independent competitor to Vero and IAG in the New Zealand market.

In late July the regulator vetoed the acquisition, citing fears it would substantially lessen competition in New Zealand's personal insurance market - an assertion that Suncorp New Zealand chief executive Paul Smeaton did not agree with.

"We strongly believe in the compelling benefits of the acquisition and the significant value that would be created for Suncorp shareholders and benefits to market competition," Smeaton said.

In response, Vero lodged an appeal with the High Court of New Zealand the following month.

Tower offered no further detail as to its cross appeal as the matter is now before the courts, though reiterated that its board fully supports Vero with its appeal.

Suncorp, via Vero, currently holds a 19.99% stake in Tower valued at NZ$1.40 per share.

Read more: SuncorpVero InsuranceNew Zealand Commerce CommissionPaul SmeatonTower LimitedHigh Court of New Zealand
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