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COMPANY BRIEFS

Friday 12th May 2000

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TV3 and TV4 owner CanWest Global Communications completed a market stand for 44.8% of RadioWorks, spending $25 million, and said it would stop there.

The Stock Exchange confirmed it was holding merger talks with three overseas exchanges, believed to be Australia, Singapore and Canada.

ElderCare New Zealand paid about $4 million for a 67% stake in Ranworth Healthcare, the country's largest brain injury assessment and rehabilitation provider.

The Commerce Commission cleared the merger of State Insurance and NZI, the two largest insurers, as part of global merger plans. The commission also cleared the merger of the New Zealand businesses of Commonwealth Bank of Australia - ASB Bank, Sovereign, and Metropolitan Life - with Colonial Ltd.

Mainland Products subsidiary Top Hat bought frozen curry maker Aashiayana for an undisclosed sum.

The Major Electricity Users Group warned hydro generators not to exploit this weekend's maintenance shutdown of the Maui gas pipeline, saying a price hike while gas generators were out of service would be abuse of market power.

Solid Energy will supply Genesis Power with 340,000 tonnes of coal over 17 months to fire the Huntly station.

Natural Gas Corporation offered Infratil 130c a share for its 26.6 million NGC shares, some 50c short of the price Infratil is understood to want.

Sky City is offering $100 million of 9.25% five-year capital notes and is taking on debt to fund its $217 million bid for Adelaide Casino.

WestpacTrust posted a 9% higher $186.1 million March first-half profit and announced a "raft of initiatives" to overcome its slumping popularity among customers.

Shell New Zealand was fined $10,000 after admitting using misleading advertising about prices at its Franz Josef station.

Furniture group Freedom's six New Zealand stores had sales growth of double the rate of the 53 Australian stores in the March half-year.

Business confidence took another tumble in the March quarter with a net 3% expecting conditions to worsen in the next six months, the WestpacTrust survey said.

BP New Zealand sought Commerce Commission approval to buy Burmah Castrol NZ as the parent companies pursued an international merger.

ANZ Bank has allocated $A75 million ($90 million) to a private equity fund for investment in growing Australian and New Zealand businesses.

Infrastructure Auckland will run up a $359 million deficit over the next 10 years funding Auckland's infrastructure needs, estimated at $5 billion.

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