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Week in review

Friday 27th June 2003

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AMP will wind down its British NPI life insurance subsidiary, shedding a further 900 jobs. Existing policies will be paid off over time but no new policies will be written. The move is not expected to have a significant effect on earnings or on AMP's value.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission put "boiler room" share trader Morgan Price into receivership following complaints from New Zealand and US investors and a reference from the Securities Commission. The commission alleges Morgan Price engaged in "unconscionable, misleading, and deceptive conduct."

Richina Pacific blamed the Sars virus and the weather for a profit forecast downgrade, to $3.5 million for the June first half. Poor quality pelts following bad local weather had affected margins in its leather division while Sars had "decimated" visitor numbers at the Blue Zoo aquarium in Beijing.

Provenco Group won a $4.5 million retail automation contract with "one of its international customers." Chairman David Wolfenden said the international environment was improving but the company was still experiencing long lead times for business it was chasing.

Hellaby Holdings may return capital to shareholders after receiving a $9 million income tax refund. The refund will boost June-year reported earnings by $5 million.

Certified Organics' one-for-one rights issue closed undersubscribed but raised $1.2 million. The company will place seven million shares from the pool of unsubscribed rights.

TelstraClear rejected an offer from Telecom to drop appeals and counter-appeals to the Telecommunications Commissioner over interconnection and wholesaling issues. TelstraClear has won hefty cuts in interconnection charges but believes the commissioner's decisions were still too conservative.

As Toll Holdings mailed its 95c a share cash offer to Tranz Rail shareholders, the government released details of the track access charging regime that accompanies its competing bid. Observers immediately lambasted it as giving too little detail.

Brunswick Corporation, a US listed maker of marine engines and outdoor equipment, paid $56.1 million for a 70% stake in Auckland-based global-positioning technology company Navman. Selling shareholders included Emerald Capital and Capricorn Holdings. Management and staff retain the remaining 30%.

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