UK parent bids for BankWest

Edinburgh-based Halifax Bank of Scotland has launched a mop-up bid for the Bank of Western Australia at a price of $4.25 per share. The bid values BankWest at $2.4 billion, or $1.04 billion for the 43 per cent that HBOS doesn't already own. HBOS's bid is positioned at 14.1 times consensus earnings forecasts of 30.2 cents a share for 2003, or $173 million and is a 22 per cent premium to BankWest's average share price over the February-to-April 2003 period.
An HBOS spokesman said it needed to be more than a partial owner of BankWest to maximise its potential. BankWest's independent directors will decide whether to accept or reject the bid before a shareholders' meeting this August.