AMP shares have hit a new all-time low after the beleaguered wealth manager flagged it would not pay a first-half dividend in anticipation that the $3.3 billion sale of its wealth protection business has failed.
The company said its proposed deal with London-based Resolution Life was on the rocks after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand informed the latter it would not consider the required change of control application.
The central bank had asked Resolution to alter its current branch structure to include separate, ring-fenced assets held in New Zealand for the benefit of New Zealand policyholders.
AMP said on Monday addressing these requirements would adversely impact the commercial return of the sale for both parties.
Shares in AMP fell by 12.79 per cent to a new nadir of $1.875 by 1036 AEST.
“The failure to meet this condition precedent is exceptionally disappointing as the sale of AMP Life is a foundational element of AMP’s strategy,” the company said in a release.
AMP said it was now working with Resolution Life to find a new solution.
“This will require negotiation of new terms and is not certain,” AMP said.
AMP said it will retain AMP Life and manage it as a specialist life insurance and mature business if a revised transaction cannot be achieved.
Shares in the 170-year-old company took a dive when it announced the sale of Life in October last year for $3.3 billion, including $1.9 billion cash.
The sale was met with skepticism by several key shareholders, who questioned the value of the deal.
The transaction came in the wake of the company’s mauling at the financial services royal commission, where the fees-for-no-service scandal prompted a clear-out of AMP’s top brass and millions of dollars in remediation to customers.
AMP has since been hit with a number of shareholder class action suits and compliance orders from regulators amid ongoing concerns over the company’s management.
More than $10 billion has been wiped from the company’s value since March 2018 with shares in the company falling from $5.43 to a previous all-time low of $1.97 last month.
AMP said it expects to report a Level 3 eligible capital surplus above minimum regulatory requirements and in line with board limits for target capital surplus in its first half results on August 8.
But it said an interim dividend for the six months to June 30 was “unlikely” due to the uncertainty around the Life deal.
The company paid an interim dividend of 10 cents per share in August 2018.
AMP cut its full-year dividend from 14.5 cents to 4.0 cents per share in February after full-year profit plummeted 97 per cent to a worse-than-expected $28 million.