History of Suncorp
On 1 December 1996, the Queensland Government owned Suncorp and QIDC entities were merged into the publicly listed company Metway Bank to create the new allfinanz group Suncorp Metway.
At the time of the merger, SUNCORP was 100% Queensland Government owned and was operating as an allfinanz group with approximately $10 billion in assets. SUNCORP commenced business in 1916 as the State Accident Insurance Office. Not long after it changed its name to State Government Insurance Office (SGIO) and extended its operations into life insurance, general insurance and Compulsory Third Party. Over the years, superannuation, building society and finance operations were added.
Metway Bank was Queensland's largest locally based bank with operations in New South Wales and Victoria. At the time of the merger, Metway Bank had approximately $7.1 billion in assets. It was established as the Metropolitan Permanent Building Society in 1959 and converted to bank status and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1988. In 1990, Metway Bank acquired Prudential Finance Limited and, in 1992, the Household Building Society.
QIDC commenced operations in 1986, but evolved from the Queensland Agricultural Bank established in 1902. Initially operating primarily as a rural financier, QIDC expanded its activities to include commercial lending to small and medium sized businesses. At the time of the merger, QIDC had total assets of $3 billion and was wholly owned by the Queensland Government.
The merger of the three companies was proposed by the Queensland State Government to create a more competitive financial institution better geared to meet the needs of the future. The merger also created Australia's fifth largest listed financial services group with the associated economic benefits of a major Australian corporate headquarters located in Queensland.
The state government was initially the largest shareholder of the new group with a 68 percent holding consisting of shares and capital notes in return for the sale of Suncorp and QIDC to Metway Bank; the other 32% was held by existing Metway shareholders. At the time, the state government indicated its intention to sell down its holding in stages within five years to no more than 15%.
In September 1997, the State Government announced a public issue of 100 million Exchanging Instalment Notes giving preference to existing customers and shareholders of Suncorp, Metway and QIDC. On completion of the offer, the State Government's effective interest in the company was reduced to around 4%. The public paid $6.10 for the notes in two instalments and these exchanged for ordinary shares on 1 November 1999, increasing the number of Suncorp Metway shareholders from 36,000 to approximately 111,000.
Twelve months later the State Government announced a total selldown of its shareholding through a second Exchanging Instalment Notes issue. Like the first notes issue, the second issue attracted considerable public interest and was substantially oversubscribed. The public paid $7.10 in two instalments, the second being paid on 6 November 2000. These notes were exchanged for ordinary shares on 31 October 2001.
Also as part of the government selldown, shareholders were offered one ordinary share for every two shares held as at 1 December 1998, at a price of $5 per share.
The merger and amalgamation of the three companies was completed in 1999. The new brand, Suncorp Metway, was launched in May 1999, enabling the delivery of the group's resources under one banner, the streamlining of the product range and elimination of duplication in the branch network.
On 1 July 2001, Suncorp Metway acquired AMP's Australian general insurance interests, which increased the group's annual premium income to $2 billion, making it the second largest general insurer in Australia. The number of general insurance customers doubled and the business mix became more diversified, with growth in personal and commercial lines and the addition of workers compensation.
The acquisition of AMP Ltd's 50% shareholdings in motoring club insurance joint ventures with the RACQ in Queensland, the RAA in South Australia was completed in January 2002 and in March 2004 we acquired RACT Insurance in Tasmania (100%).
On 1 July 2002, we simplified our brand to Suncorp, which represents everything we do in Queensland and for Banking and Wealth Management outside of Queensland. The GIO brand is used for general insurance business outside of Queensland.
On 20 March 2007 Suncorp merged with the Promina Group. This brought the number of customers to over 7 million and lifted total assets to $84.9 billion across Australia and New Zealand.
Today Suncorp is Australia's fifth largest bank and at 30 June 2008 was the largest general insurance group by gross written premium. Suncorp employs over 18,000 staff and 35% of Australian households use Suncorp's products and services. Suncorp's acquisition of the Promina Group further diversified its general insurance and financial services businesses, operating throughout Australia and New Zealand.