June 7, 2018 / 10:34 AM / 5 months ago

Australian lender Prospa further delays listing amid regulator's queries

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Small business lender Prospa Group PGL.AX said it would delay its listing by more than the 48 hours initially announced, as it responds to a regulator’s questions on loan terms.

Prospa had postponed its listing at the eleventh hour on Wednesday, saying the Australian Securities and Investments Commission had queried its “small business loan terms” given the “industry wide review into financial services small business loan term”.

“The company ... decided it is in the best interest of the company and new investors to postpone the listing and provide a briefing on the matters raised by ASIC in the context of the industry wide review,” a spokesperson told Reuters in an email on Thursday.

“A revised listing schedule will be communicated,” the spokesperson added, without providing any more details.

The delay in Prospa’s listing amid regulatory queries is a sign scrutiny is increasing across every corner of Australia’s scandal-ridden financial sector.

The country’s A$100 billion financial services sector has already been roiled by shocking revelations of deception and misconduct in just the first few months of a powerful public inquiry that is set to continue for a full year.

Prospa - specializing in quick-approval loans of up to A$250,000 with high interest rates as the loans are unsecured - had planned to sell a quarter of its business in the Wednesday listing for A$146.5 million ($112 million). The internet-only lender would have listed with a market value of A$576.3 million.

Its shares were to debut at midday Sydney time (0200 GMT) but Prospa announced the delay 15 minutes before that.

($1 = 1.3070 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE and Paulina Duran in SYDNEY; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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