Archive | Archive – local business

Snapshot on local business, week to 31 March 2002

26 March 2002

ASB Bank’s chief economist, Anthony Byett, said today in the bank’s weekly commodities report dairy prices, down 26% on a year ago, would reduce total goods export earnings by 5-6%/year, and goods & services income by 4%/year. The farm gate payout in the June 2003 year could be $1.2 billion below this year’s payout.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 29 April 2001

Items on Local Business this week:

Help for migrants

Shore council wants to be nice

Latest: Help for migrants, Shore council wants to be nice.

29 April 2001

A news release from Auckland City Council community development committee’s chairman, Cllr Penny Sefuiva, indicates an end to 17 years of madness, during which New Zealand has invited many thousands of migrants to live here, mostly in Auckland, then done too little to help them adjust. It’s probably the most enduring aspect of pure Rogernomics, providing an opening but insisting on no support for those who take the opportunity. Said Cllr Sefuiva: “We all have a responsibility to help these people adjust to a new environment because failure to do so results in social costs which impact on all of us.” Auckland and Manukau cities will run a pilot study to help migrants and refugees settle in, with a new service centre — address not yet known — and a strategy to consolidate and co-ordinate the many services community groups provide. The project is government-funded.

North Shore City Council’s draft economic strategy, prepared by McDermott Fairgray, recommends the council host business forums every six months. The council’s strategy & finance committee also resolved to support the Competitive Auckland project.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 10 February 2002

9 February 2002

While politicians use Auckland’s transport woes to try to score points, planned bus network improvements are about to start, in March. “These include a boost in services along the main arterials of Sandringham &New North Rds to between 5 & 10 minutes at peak times as well as improved frequencies at other times and extra Flyer and Express buses,” Auckland Regional Council transport strategy spokeswoman Jo Mackay said. “Bus frequencies between Henderson & New Lynn are to significantly improve, enabling frequent connections throughout the day between these two main shopping centres, St Lukes shopping centre & Auckland city shops. These service improvements are funded by Transfund and the ARC to a cost of $990,000 per annum. Waiheke Island & the Link also receive service boosts. The regional land transport strategy’s goal for the bus network is to reach 5-minute service frequencies along major arterial roads. Mt Eden and Dominion Rds already have 5-minute frequencies during 6 peak weekday hours and patronage along those roads has increased at a significantly higher rate than the regional average. Patronage on Dominion Rd in July/August 2001 increased 26% over July/August 2000.”

Nuhaka Farm Forestry Fund will resume harvesting because log prices, particularly for unpruned timber, improved recently. Perpetual Trust’s managed funds general manager, Ian Taylor, said sales for the next three months had been arranged on a stumpage basis and logging should start soon. The decision will also enable Nuhaka to resume distributions to unitholders.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 17 August 2003

15 August 2003

Australasian Hotel Holdings Ltd has had the listing date of its subordinated secured bonds on the NZDX delayed to 1 September. They were to have been listed on 25 August. Applications have been received for $42.2 million of the 5-year 9% bonds.

Melbourne’s Age newspaper reports: “Ownership of another Australian icon will head overseas after a US company bought the 120-year-old home and garden business Yates.” Ignoring, of course, that it used to be a New Zealand company and still employs a New Zealand workforce.

12 August 2003

Beware the Pacific Islands Forum, which started in Auckland today and continues for a week. It’s based at the Sheraton Hotel, corner Karangahape Rd & Symonds St. The forum’s trade & investment commission will hold a Pacific Islands Showcase at the Town Hall, Wednesday-Saturday 13-16 August. Traffic will be disrupted Friday morning 8.30-9am for a motorcade of leaders through Mayoral Drive, Wakefield & Symonds St, Mt Eden, Clive & Mountain Rds to Government House. What caught my eye was this, for a city complaining of congestion: “The whole process will be carefully managed in order to minimise disruption to Auckland City motorists, and it should be all over within half an hour,” said Inspector Mark Hall, the officer in charge of the police operation, “It would be good if people planned their travel to work outside of those times on Friday.”

11 August 2003

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Ltd and US whiteware giant Whirlpool Corp have formed a global strategic alliance involving a wide range of co-operative activities, initially involving global sourcing of major home appliances, and sharing & co-development of product technology. Whirlpool offered the benefits of global purchasing power and the strength of its global technology development organisation. F&P Appliances managing director John Bongard said. Whirlpool sells $US11 billion of goods/year in 170 countries.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 14 July 2002

9 July 2002

Retail sales rose 8.3% in May (over May 2001) — or by $317 million to $4.1 billion (net of gst) — but Statistics NZ said the seasonally adjusted change from April to May was a 1.2% fall. The total figures in recent months have included some hefty rises in spending on vehicles, but fluctuating spending on vehicle services. The rise in vehicle retailing, 17.3% over May 2001, was worth $96 million. Other large actual rises were in furniture/floor coverings, up 19.1%, and recreational goods (10.6%), chemist (10.4%) & accommodation/hotels/liquor (10.2%). Department store spending fell 2.1%. Excluding vehicle sales & servicing, May sales rose 7.6%.

Fletcher Aluminium ( a division of Fletcher Building Products Ltd, in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Fletcher Building Ltd) is selling its Australian distribution business to Capral Aluminium Ltd, but will stay in its remaining Australian business, in joinery systems.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 11 March 2001

Latest: Transfund gives $22m for rail corridors, shareholders approve Fletcher Challenge separation, Fletcher Challenge breakup battle.

8 March 2001

Transfund has agreed to provide $22 million, half the money Auckland’s councils wanted from it, for the region’s rail corridor deal with Tranz Rail. Infrastructure Auckland has allocated $30 million to the project and the councils are close to making a submission to get the rest of the money from the same source.

6 March 2001

Fletcher Challenge is one step from breaking up, after shareholders voted today in favour of selling the Energy division to Shell and Apache, leaving the Building division as a new stand-alone company and Forests also as a stand-alone, with a new company, Rubicon, to be listed by the end of the month. GPG’s Tony Gibbs failed by a long margin in a bid to have the shareholder meeting adjourned and to force the Fletcher directors to agree to due diligence by the last-minute bidders for Energy, the Peak Petroleum consortium headed by former Cultus Petroleum chief executive Mark Dunphy. The breakup of the letter-share divisions into separate companies now requires High Court approval, scheduled to be given at 10am on 15 March.

5 March 2001

Holders of the seven Fletcher Challenge notes series have started the conglomerate separation process by voting between 96.7% and 99.6% in favour of the new notes arrangement, which gives them 65% of their investment back in cash and puts the rest into the new Fletcher Building at a 0.5% higher coupon rate. Shareholders are to vote at a 2pm Tuesday meeting at the Ellerslie convention centre. Fletcher’s board got up early on Monday to remind the market that the Peak/Greymouth group still hadn’t made an offer for Fletcher Energy, and finished the day with a Grant Samuel report which said the whole breakup could be held up/aborted if shareholders opted for Greymouth’s possible 8.5% premium over the Shell/Apache offer. The report also emphasised the uncertainty to come out of Greymouth’s due diligence. Greymouth’s lawyers will be back in the High Court on Tuesday morning trying to defer the shareholder meeting.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 19 January 2003

19 January 2003

The consumer price index rose 0.6% in the December quarter to a 2.7% annual rate but the food price index fell 0.7%, and has risen by only 0.6% over the year. Main CPI drivers were housing & transport. House prices rose 1.4% on rises in the purchase & construction of new homes, which were up 1.8%. Adjustments have been made to remove the impact of quality changes such as higher-specification cladding systems or framing timber. Also contributing were rents, up 0.6%, & local body rates, up 1.7%. Rises on some routes raised international air travel 10% overall, but domestic prices fell 9%. In the household operation group, household contents insurance rose 3.3%, electricity 1.1%, but household appliances & equipment fell 3.1%. Government Statistician Brian Pink said this was the largest quarterly decrease in appliances & equipment prices since 1982, attributable to several factors, including the dollar’s rise, more competition and falling prices for goods such as dvd players.

North Shore mayor & regional mayoral forum chairman George Wood said on Friday the region’s 10-year integrated transport plan had a $1.2 billion funding shortfall, and the Land Transport Management Bill introduced in December wouldn’t deliver the difference. The mayors & regional land transport committee held a workshop on Friday and decided their chief executives should draw up a funding & action plan — something you might have thought the regional committee could have been working on. And, in fact, it was: the chief executives will draw on work already under way by a regional transport executive group. Mr Wood said the new bill would put too many conditions on funding options. Submissions on the bill close on 28 February and the select committee will report back to Parliament on 9 June. Mr Wood said toll & public/private partnership provisions could be applied to very few of the Auckland projects. The mayoral forum will get a report back from the chief executives at its next meeting, on Friday 31 January.

Auckland City Council outlined how it dealt with its Auckland International Airport share sale earnings just before Christmas. It netted $185.1 million after $5.7 million costs from selling half its stake. Initial investment is in short- to medium-term deposits & investments — $36.2 million in overnight bank deposits, to be used to retire the council’s local authority stock when it matures; $68.2 million in floating-rate investments, to be rolled over until it’s offset against bonds maturing in August 2006; the balance in short-term overnight deposits, bank bills, treasury bills & high-quality commercial paper. Finance & corporate business committee chairman Douglas Armstrong said the $80.7 million remaining after debt repayment, $54 million capital repayment proceeds & $83 million from the council’s housing sales would be set aside for long- & short-term commitments, including the indoor arena at Quay Park and Britomart.

15 January 2003

New Zealand ran a $434 million trade deficit in November, which Government Statistician Brian Pink was a normal November occurrence. Provision exports value for the month was $2.465 billion, imports value $2.898 billion, giving a merchandise trade deficit of 17.6% of exports compared to an average 15.1% over the previous decade. Updated merchandise exports value for the November year was $31.2 billion, down 4.8% on the previous year.
Website: Statistics NZ

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Snapshot on local business, week to 30 November 2003

30 November 2003

Business in Pt Chevalier & Royal Oak have voted not to establish a Mainstreet programme. 60% support was required for the Auckland City Council to institute a Mainstreet levy on local businesses. Pt Chevalier’s vote was 58% in favour, Royal Oak’s 50%. Both areas were previously polled in April. Council strategy & governance committee chairman Cllr Mark Donnelly said Mainstreets were often the catalyst for rejuvenation. The city has 16 Mainstreets.

Rubicon Ltd’s half-year profit fell from $9.4 million to $1 million and the share price is weaker than it ought to be, chairman Michael Andrews said in his result report on Friday. He said Rubicon’s share price didn’t rise after Kiwi Forests Group offered $725 million for Fletcher Challenge Forests Ltd. If that bid’s successful, Fletcher would return $1 cash to shareholders. The offer price implied a value of $1.50 to Fletcher shares, up 50c on the pre-bid price. The retained entity at book value would represent about $55 million of value to Rubicon. When Fletcher was trading around $1, Rubicon was around 68c. Every 10c Fletcher rise equates to a theoretical 4c Rubicon rise so, at the implied $1.50, Rubicon should be at 88c, Mr Andrews said. It closed at 77c on Friday.

Pacific Retail Group Ltd increased sales 28% to $344.7 million in the September half, but said several 1-offs cut its operating surplus before unusuals & tax fall from $11 million to $3.8 million, and the result after tax, minorities & unusuals fall from a $6.1 million profit to a $33,000 loss. Unusuals rose from $1.74 million to $2.8 million, including $700,000 investigating buying Farmers.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 18 January 2004

15 January 2004

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd is conducting due diligence on the MGM Grand Darwin casino in Australia, the only licensed casino in Darwin & largest in the Northern Territory. It has 29 gaming tables, 450 gaming machines, a 107-room hotel, 4 restaurants & 5 bars. It’s owned by MGM Mirage Inc, of Las Vegas.

12 January 2004

TrustPower is re-entering the bond market with the offer of a new 10-year 8.5% unsecured bond to raise at least $50 million.

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Snapshot on local business, week to 17 November 2002

17 November 2002

Tower Ltd has taken Tower Trust off the market, deciding that incorporating it in its growth strategies “would be the best use of shareholder capital.” Several parties had completed due diligence & submitted bids for the business. Tower Ltd is also reviewing strategic & operational initiatives and intends announcing outcome early in 2003.

Buying Woolworths NZ Ltd pushed Foodland Associated Ltd’s Progressive supermarkets division sales up 109.8% in the 1st quarter of its 2003 year. Sales from continuing operations rose 54.3% (expressed in $A). Action, which now includes the Australian east coast store network, increased sales 50.3%.

12 November 2002

Retail sales rose 8.5% in September over September 2001, led by car sales, up 19.2% to $619 million, furniture & floor coverings up 18.7% to $113 million, cafes, restaurants & takeaways up 11.2% to $294 million. Total sales for the month were $2 million short of $4 billion. Sales have ranged between $3.85 billion (June) to $4.15 billion (March) over the past 7 months. For the September quarter, total sales were $12.184 billion at $3087/head, an 8.1% rise over the September 2001 quarter.

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