ANZ, Australia’s third largest bank, has decided to stop lending to the Port of Newcastle, the world’s largest thermal coal export terminal, under its new climate change policy to cut funding to the coal sector, including the associated infrastructure and service providers.
To look at the background to the bank’s divestment, Barometer’s Des Lawrence spoke with IEEFA’s Tim Buckley, Director of Energy Finance, Australia/South Asia.
Buckley says ANZ made an “entirely pragmatic decision” due to concerns that the port’s legal constraint, imposed by the NSW Premier, prevents it from diversifying – such that the port will become a stranded asset as the world rapidly moves away from thermal coal. A point that was made abundantly clear when the biggest buyers of Australian thermal coal, Japan, China and South Korea, committed to net-zero emissions last year.
“ANZ has a fiduciary duty to manage the risk-adjusted returns for all of its shareholders. It has to make sure that it is not financing stranded assets and left holding the can when ultimately the business it is financing is unable to deliver the returns it promised, pay the interest it committed to paying and most importantly, take back the capital involved,” he says.
“This is harsh, but all about a long-term capital management strategy.”
This podcast was produced by Radio Adelaide’s Barometer. Listen to the podcast here.