ANZ Gaffe Leads to Trading Halt at the Australian Stock Exchange

Trading in the shares of Australia's third largest bank has now resumed, but yesterday's halt underlines the fragility of financial

imagesanzANZ, Australia’s third largest bank by market capitalisation, has accidentally released sensitive company information relating to its upcoming full-year results later this month.

In an attempt to mitigate the potential impact on its share price, the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) placed a trading halt on its shares at the company’s request pending a further announcement.

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On Friday, October 24th  just before close of business, ANZ informed the ASX that the bank had erroneously posted an Excel spreadsheet of key financial data on its website. The spreadsheet contained specific figures relating to ‘Cash Profit’ figures adjusted by Division and Territory. According to an ANZ media brief, the accidental disclosure represented “partial analytical data only” and the bank “remains in compliance with its continuous disclosure obligations.”

A full copy of the disclosed financials information can be viewed here

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On Monday, 27th October, ANZ decided to place a trading halt shares traded at the ASX with trading resuming on Tuesday. The bank was presumably concerned that such information could be ‘mis-overused’ so to speak, by avidly attentive analysts across the globe.

The impact on ANZ’s share price has not been significant despite the bank’s data fumble. ANZ shares closed at $33.09 last Friday, opened at $33.17 on Monday and were trading around $33.33 before the trading halt. At the bell on Tuesday, ANZ shares closed at $33.41. It seems that if anything, the data ‘leak’ has had a positive effect on the overall share price (if at all).

ANZ’s slip up comes at a sensitive time with the bank expected to announce its final annual results this coming Friday. Looking at the disclosed figures in more detail, the unaudited and unrevised figures indicate ANZ could announce significant growth in its Global Wealth (+32%) and GRSO/Group Centre (+31%) divisions. Geographically, the figures show the bank’s cash profit in Australia growing by 15% compared to a 19% decline in APAC, Europe and America and 11% decline in New Zealand.

It is worth underlining that the figures leaked by ANZ are not final and are unaudited -therefore they may be significantly different to the official figures due to be published in the annual report.

 

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