Archive | Archive – local business

Snapshot on local business to July 2000

The SNAPSHOTS series is designed to keep you abreast of events without providing much detail. This series is organised into property and more general business news, locally and internationally.

26 July 2000

UnitedNetworks said today it would install, own and manage underground fibre optic networks in the Auckland and Wellington cbds, as the first stage in three to deliver more ultra-high bandwidth in New Zealand. It should be working early next year. The Auckland network will be linked to the Southern Cross cable linking New Zealand to Australia, Fiji and the US, which should be operating in November.

24 July 2000

Beware of two new get-rich-quick schemes — Millionaires of the World (part of the Hope Foundation Members Association SA) and the Wairua Tahi Trust (Goldrush) schemes — says the Securities Commission’s senior operations executive, Norman Miller. Your money goes offshore for a supposedly very high return (tax-free, which of course it will be if you get nothing back) and additional profits are suppsoedly sent to disaster relief.

10 July 2000

Local Government Minister Sandra Lee has set down an ambitious timetable for the review of local government funding powers, and indicated a number of changes which would come into force for the 2001 and 2004 triennial elections. Provisions she wants enacted by May 2001 include the ability to introduce the single transferrable vote for local body elections (though this option would not become available until 2004), proposals to limit campaign spending by candidates, and issues related to multiple candidacy. The minister told the Local Government Association’s conference today she recently approved revised draft terms of reference for the funding powers review begun by the previous government, and that these terms “correct a perceived bias in the review process towards user charging regimes” and incorporate a review of Crown rating exemptions. Ms Lee wants policy decisions on the review completed by next April and the bill enacted by November 2001 so it can be used in the March 2003 financial year.

1 July 2000

Northland Port Corporation has unveiled plans for a $65 million deepwater port at Marsden Pt, to be developed, owned and managed in a joint venture with the Port of Tauranga. Land operations would be run by a second joint venture between the two port companies and Carter Holt Harvey. The proposal will go to Northland Port shareholders at their annual meeting in Whangarei on 17 July. Carter Holt is building a laminated veneer lumber (lvl) plant at Marsden Pt. Assuming approval, Fletcher Construction would start work about October for April 2002 completion.

13 June 2000

Designer Textiles managing director Kerry Harding said today weak consumer demand in New Zealand and Australia, plus continuig rationalisation of Australia’s textile and apparel industries, impacted significantly on the company’s sales in the three months to April and sales for the June half were likely to be 10% down on the first half at $30 million. He said taxpaid trading profit should be about $1.3 million.

6 June 2000

The Securities Commission has found Kerry Hoggard breached insider trading law on 15 December 199, when he was Fletcher Challenge chairman. He resigned his directorship after the event was revealed and arranged to compensate people who sold shares to him that day. The commission found JB Were, which handled the transactions, did not rely on the inside information from Mr Hoggard for any purpose. The insider trading occurred between a 14 December Fletcher board meeting and the 16 December announcement that the company would dismantle its letter-share structure. The commission says it is for Fletcher Challenge and its shareholders whether to pursue a financial penalty against Mr Hoggard under the Securities Amendment Act. Go to External links/Government/Securities Commission for full report.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 11 August 2002

8 August 2002

Acting transport minister Judith Tizard & Australia’s transport minister, John Anderson, signed the 2 countries’ open skies air services agreement in Auckland today, formalising a memo of understanding signed in November 2000 and incorporating the single aviation market arrangements signed in 1996. The agreement was a key component of Air New Zealand’s decision to buy Ansett Airlines, and the Australian Government’s failure to sign it earlier helped the demise of both Ansett and Air NZ. While Air NZ no longer has an Australian infrastructure to give the agreement the liftoff it wanted, Qantas can use it to fly through New Zealand and compete more strongly against Air NZ.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 1 April 2001

Latest: Cargo shift to Tauranga, Pacific Retail does jig, Savoy suspended, Rubicon opens at half asset value, Carter buys Tasman kraft, current account deficit improves.

29 March 2001

Fesco NZ Express Line will make Tauranga the sole North Island port of call for its weekly Far East service, which the Port of Tauranga company expects will increase its container movements by more than 20,000 teus (20ft-equivalent units), or 8%. The shipping line’s move from Auckland means Auckland cargo will be handled through Port of Tauranga’s Metroport Auckland inland port service.

Pacific Retail Group shareholders approved the transfer of the business and assets of Computer City’s Wellington and Christchurch stores to Orion Ventures, 89% owned by Pacific Retail Group.

27 March 2001

The stock exchange’s market surveillance panel said today it would suspend Savoy Equities’ shares from trading until the company issues its preliminary full-year result announcement. Savoy was due to release its result by 16 March.

26 March 2001

Fletcher Challenge’s new company, Rubicon Ltd, fared poorly in its first day’s trading, with 43.6 million shares changing hands for $18.6 million in a range of 40-45c. The top of the range is precisely half Rubicon’s stated asset value of 90c. Rubicon has a number of forestry technology interests, owns 17.6% of Fletcher Challenge Forests, the Challenge service station chain, $34 million of shares in capstone Turbine Corp and total assets of $304 million, updated to $317 million on current Capstone and Forests market prices.

Carter Holt Harvey’s request for approval to be able to take over Norske Skog’s Tasman kraft manufacturing business at Kawerau (previously held by Fletcher Challenge Paper) was followed today by a $US130 million ($NZ315 million) acquisition agreement, with another $US10 million of payments depending on global pulp prices over the next to years. The acquisition will take effect on 30 April. Carter Holt says it sees synergy opportunities between Kawerau and its Kinleith mill, including product development opportunities.

New Zealand’s current account deficit for the December quarter was $1.9 billion. For the December year, it was $1 billion better than the year to September at $6 billion, but the figure to September blew out with payment for the frigate Te Mana. Excluding that, the December current account balance was $385 million lower.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 9 February 2003

6 February 2003

Wellington International Airport Ltd confirmed yesterday it would raise charges to the airlines by an average 77.7%, which it said would amount to an extra $4 on a 1-way journey. Chief executive John Sheridan said it was the airport’s 1st fee rise in 5 years and was needed to cover the $116 million development of its new terminal, “an investment which has transformed Wellington as an international & domestic gateway and provided efficiency gains to airlines.” He said the airport company had received no return on this investment, while the airlines had had a rent-free holiday.

3 February 2003

Hellaby Holdings Ltd has bought the business & assets of Liftec Transport Equipment Ltd for $1.8 million. Hellaby managing director David Houldsworth said Liftec’s range of agencies was extremely complementary to Hellaby subsidiary AB Equipment’s materials handling & construction equipment business. He said AB Equipment’s extensive branch network & strong business focus should increase Liftec’s sales from $6 million to $8-10 million in the foreseeable future with minimal increases in staff or overheads.

Superbank, formed by the St George bank of Australia and local supermarket chain Foodstuffs, became New Zealand’s 18th registered bank today. The Reserve Bank said it had registered Leviathan Ltd as a bank, and that it would change its name to St George Bank NZ Ltd and use the trading name Superbank.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 7 December 2003

3 December 2003

Tyco Services NZ, a business unit of Tyco International Ltd’s fire & security business segment, will amalgamate various business units under the Climatech Ltd mechanical services banner. Finnemore, Koolineand Refrigeration Systems will become Climatech Refrigeration. Tempest Sheetmetal, based in Albany, will be rebranded & merged with Climatech Sheetmetal in Christchurch.

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Snapshot on local business, October 2000

Latest: Ontario-based stock scam, Tranz Rail to sell non-core, Tauranga and Brisbane create Oneport strategy.

31 October 2000

The latest scam for New Zealanders to worry about comes from Ontario, involves worthless stock, swaps and phone salespeople who claim to represent legitimate US companies. The Securities Commission’s senior operations executive, Norman Miller, said today some victims were caught a second time by being encouraged to swap their worthless stock for so-called blue chips, subject to payment of more money. Check the details on the commission’s site: External links/Government/Securities Commission.

10 October 2000

Tranz Rail is testing market interest in its long-distance passenger trains with a call for expressions of interest in the tourism-oriented business, Tranz Scenic. It will have an information memo out in a fortnight so proposals can be assessed before Christmas. The same process will be followed for its refrigerated freight business, which provides a road-rail link. Tranz Link Refrigerated, previously known as RFL Transport, has been part of Tranz Rail since 1994.

Port of Tauranga has extended its growth strategy, seen through the Metroport project and more recently through its joint venture with Northland Port Corporation to develop a deepwater log export base at Marsden Pt. Now it’s come up with Oneport, a heads of agreement with the Port of Brisbane aimed at linking leading ports around the world to their mutual strategic advantage. The strategy will enable Oneport participants to build business opportunities — particularly outside their traditional regional boundaries.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 25 February 2001

Latest: Evergreen lifts profit, fraud trial starts, more consultation on separate rate for Takapuna.

22 February 2001

Evergreen Forests Ltd has increased half-year profit by 68% to $3.5 million on revenue up 189% to $17.3 million. Basic earnings per share rose from 1.6c to 2.7c, and diluted from 1.1c to 1.9c. Shareholders will not get a dividend, but chief executive Mark Bogle said the company was positioned to maintain long-term profit growth. He said Evergreen had offset price volatility by being able to target markets giving best returns, but prices softened late in the year and he expects the market to stay flat this year. Evergreen owns or has cutting rights over 21,000 stocked hectares of pine.

20 February 2001

The fraud trial is set to begin tomorrow in the Auckland District Court of an elderly businessman with a long history of treating others’ money as his own. A jury was selected on Monday but two jurors were absent today, delaying the opening of the case by Serious Fraud Office prosecuting counsel Rhys Harrison QC. The elderly accused still has name suppression, pushed to extraordinary lengths by his lawyer, Roy Ladd, who has complained about his client’s name even appearing on court lists posted in the courtroom building. Even the defendant’s initials were twinked out on those lists today. Mr Ladd’s client is on trial before Judge Graham Hubble, in courtroom 7, with a scheduled duration of 4-5 weeks.

North Shore District Council’s strategy & finance committee voted today to put a proposed $250,000/year plus gst separate rate for the Takapuna central business district in the annual plan, giving affected ratepayers the chance to make submissions about June-July. It would amount to a $455/year promotional rate for the 550 properties involved, including 22 residential properties, which could be levied on a differential basis. Two other North Shore business areas, Torbay and Northcote, already have similar Mainstreet programmes.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 21 October 2001

20 October 2001

Overseas visitor arrivals increased 15%, or by 17,400 to 131,200 in September. For the September year, 1.935 million visitors arrived, up 12%, or 210,000. Short-term NZ resident departures rose 7% in September and 6% for the year, to 1.3 million. Permanent and long-term arrivals exceeded departures in September by 3500, compared to a net gain of 800 in September 2000. For the September year, there was a net 1700 outflow, compared to a 9500 outflow the previous year. This was 7,800 fewer than the net outflow of 9,500 in the previous year. The net loss to Australia was 28,400. Net gains were from China (9100), India (3400), South Africa (2600), Fiji (2000) and Japan (1900).

Andersen (ex-Arthur Andersen) valued Pacific Retail Group Ltd at $2.13-2.95, with a $2.54 midpoint it said was the focal point of its report on Logan Corp Ltd (Eric Watson’s Cullen Investments Ltd)’s offer, priced at $1.76. Andersen also placed far higher values on tranches of options. The higher values came after Andersen factored in a 30% discount for the stock’s illiquidity and the minority nature of the shares. Andersen said neither the share nor options offer was fair, but provided an exit at a price 21% up on the pre-bid price. The report should go to shareholders on Wednesday.

Auckland Regional Council has recommended approval of dredging to deepen the commercial shipping lane through the Rangitoto Channel, with strict conditions which have been accepted by Ports of Auckland. Material dredged from the shipping lane will be used with cement to make mudcrete for extension of the Axis Fergusson container terminal. The decision of the independent commissioners can be appealed, and still has to go to Conservation Minister Sandra Lee for approval.

Carter Holt Harvey Ltd continued to raise doubts about the value of forestry as a land use this week when it reported a September quarter profit of $15 million on $1.08 billion of sales, taking the September half return to a $19 million loss on $2 billion of sales (September 2000 quarter earnings were $86 million, September 2000 half earnings were $176 million). In the June quarter Carter Holt had non-cash writeoffs of $29 million, and in the second quarter it had a $40 million tax credit. Shareholders’ equity is around $5 billion. Half-year forest earnings before interest & tax were $14 million ($90 million) on sales of $329 million ($301 million). The company said key product prices were all at or near cyclical lows, but improvement would depend on a US recovery & flow-on to Asian markets.

15 October 2001

Inflation is up, and food inflation is way up: the consumer price index rise 0.6% in the September quarter on top of 0.6% in the second quarter. Inflation on an annual basis is up 2.4%. Food prices rose 1.8% from August to September, and rose 7.8% from a year ago. Higher beef prices pushed the meat/fish/poultry segment up 4.4%, milk rose 10.8% on a year ago, the June excise duty increase raised the alcohol segment 2.3%, local body rates rose 2.7%. Petrol prices have fallen 7% in a year but used car prices are up 4.1% on a year ago.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 1 June 2003

Warehouse Group Ltd chief executive of the past 4 years, Greg Muir, has resigned, citing different philosophies over the company’s direction. He will finish on 31 July. Company founder Stephen Tindall will be acting chief executive while the company looks for a replacement. Under Mr Muir, The Warehouse went from an $800 million to $2 billion business, but at the beginning of May revised its profit expectation for the July 2003 year down by $15-17 million to a range of $73-80 million because of difficulties with its Australian business.

27 May 2003

Tranz Rail Holdings Ltd and Port of Tauranga Ltd will extend the port company’s South Auckland Metroport operation to May 2013. Metroport, New Zealand’s 1st inland port, opened in June 1999 with an initial 5-year operating agreement. The port company’s group general manager of rail services, Noel Coom, said work should start on new site developments within 6 months.

Christchurch businessman John Powell & his company, Latimer Holdings Ltd, have discontinued their action against Trans Tasman Properties Ltd, in which they seek a payout of their investment in the listed company at net asset value. Mr Powell bought 17 million shares at an average 25c/share, compared to an asset value of 55c/share. He is continuing his claim against Trans Tasman’s controlling shareholder,SEA Holdings Ltd of Hong Kong. A timetable has been set for discovery and the case returns to the Auckland High Court for mention on Friday 4 July for mention.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 30 June 2002

30 June 2002

Kiwi Income Property Trust unitholders have been sent the investment statement & letter of entitlement & acceptance form for the $71.3 million 1:6 renounceable rights issue, priced at 82c.

Foodland Associated Ltd has repaid the vendor finance advanced in connection with the acquisition of Woolworths (NZ) Ltd’s holding company, Denstree Corp Ltd. FAL refinanced through an institutional placement & institutional pro-rata priority non-renounceable rights issue.

Air New Zealand’s group revenue passenger kilometres (rpks) fell 10.1% in May on a 10.6% capacity cut. Passenger traffic from the Tasman & Pacific routes fell slightly, partly offset by increased traffic from Japan and other Asian routes. The load factor increased by 1 percentage point. The comparison with May 2001 is complicated because Qantas NZ planes were grounded in late April 2001 as that company was placed in liquidation. May 2001 operating statistics include significant domestic capacity and rpk growth due to the collapse of Qantas NZ. For the May 2002 financial year, rpks fell 4.1%, capacity 4.8%. This kept the load factor constant at 72%.

29 June 2002

Fletcher Building Ltd will gain full listing on the Australian Stock Exchange from Monday 1 July. It’s been listed in Australia as a foreign exempt company. Fletcher Challenge Forests Ltd will also get full listing.

Fletcher Challenge Forests Ltd said a memorandum on the proposed acquisition of the Central North Island Forest Partnership assets would go to shareholders in mid-July and a shareholder meeting would be held in mid-August.

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