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Stocks to watch: Ecoya, IRG, NZS

Tuesday 14th September 2010

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Ecoya shares are currently halted ahead of a bookbuild for a share placement, IRG announced it is in talks with its bank over a breach of lending covenants, while Olam International has raised its stake in NZ Farming Systems.

Ecoya (ECO): The scented candle company which recently acquired cosmetics company Trilogy in a deal worth $20 million, had its stock halted from trading ahead of a bookbuild for a share placement. The shares last traded at 80 cents. 

Investment Research Group (IRG): The financial services company whose shares were suspended in June, said yesterday that it is in talks with its bank over a breach of lending covenants. The company expects to report a loss before tax from operations of about $890,000 compared to its previous estimate of a $175,000 profit. The shares last traded at 1.1 cent on June 9. 

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZS): Olam International, which has made a takeover offer at 70 cents a share, conditional on getting to 50%, said yesterday that it had lifted its holding to 42.3% from 40.3%. The shares fell 1.4% yesterday to 69 cents. 

Satara Co-operative Group (SAT): New Zealand’s biggest kiwifruit and avocado group posted a first-half loss of $279,000, from a profit of $1.86 million, reflecting smaller crops and the impact of tax changes to depreciation. The shares last traded on August 31 at 85 cents. 

Telecom (TEL): Telecom's network arm Chorus could partner with electricity network WEL to build the Ultra Fast Broadband network in the central North Island, according to Fairfax Media. The government is negotiating with a consortium headed by the electricity lines company to build the network in Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Hawera and Tokoroa. Shares in New Zealand’s biggest telephone company rose 1.5% yesterday to $2.07. 

Vector (VCT): The electricity lines company is likely to face a tougher earnings environment next year if the Commerce Commission introduces price controls, according to First NZ Capital’s Jason Lindsay, quoted on the ShareChat website. He rates the stock “underperform”. Shares rose 1% yesterday to $2.11. 

Themes of the day: Equities in the US and Europe surged on solid data from China and US, with sentiment further bolstered by a forecast that the euro-zone economy might expand as much as 1.7% this year. US crude rose 85 cents to US$77.30 a barrel, hitting a one month high. Statistics New Zealand is set to release its retail trade survey for July today, and the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand will release residential sales numbers for August.

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