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Company Briefs

Friday 21st July 2000

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In its first rating, Tower got an A (strong) financial strength rating from credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's, reflecting the group's "excellent business profile."

Restaurant Brands posted a 5% higher, $7.4 million May first-half profit and said the full year was likely to be marginally ahead of last year's $13 million. Revenue rose by 3.5% to $120 million.

New Zealand Dairy Group's final payout was $3.75 a kilogram, up 12c from a year ago. The commodity milk price was $2.98, the marketer's surplus was 37c, and the NZDG margin was 40c.

Kiwi Co-operative Dairies' final payout was $3.82 a kilogram made up of $2.98 commodity milk price, 37c marketers' surplus and 47c Kiwi margin.

Heinz Wattie's is closing its factory at Dandenong in Australia and will expand the Hastings plant by 39,000 tonnes, to 200,000 tonnes, creating at least 50 new jobs. But the Auckland corporate office will be closed and its functions moved to Melbourne.

Fletcher Challenge Energy gained exposure to the promising Bayu-Undan Liquids project off Timor by buying 33.7% of Australia's Petroz for around $80 million. Petroz has 8.2% of the project and has been looking for a strategic partner. FCE also bought a 30% interest in Taranaki's PEP 38728 exploration area.

GDC Communications beat its prospectus forecast for the June half year, posting a $1.34 million profit against an expected $1.27 million. Directors said they were confident the full-year $4.07 million forecast could be bettered.

Carter Holt Harvey's forest fibre solutions division invited all comers to offer their trees for sale. CHH said it had the expertise and networks to manage the marketing of wood to multiple markets.

The government's spectrum auction fizzled, with bids for second- and third-generation lots reaching only $35.8 million during the second round. Some registered bidders, such as Jump Capital and Independent Newspapers, have yet to bid.

Telecom and its 81% owned subsidiary AAPT secured a $A500 million telecommunications services deal with Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Analysts said the deal gave the pair credibility as a major Australian player.

Telecom signed a comprehensive interconnection agreement with Telstra Saturn in a deal painted as a "new industry model." It did away with interconnection payments as long as calls between the two networks were broadly in symmetry and addressed a raft of other issues.

Brierley Investments increased its stake in Singaporean media group Fraser & Neave from 2.8% to 6.9%.

Shareholders in e-opportunities approved the purchase of Selector Group, putting the New Capital Market company on track for an August listing on the Stock Exchange's main board.

Douglas Pharmaceuticals closed its Christchurch distribution centre, claiming it had lost $10 million, and blamed the government for allowing its Pharmac negotiating agency to operate exempt from the Commerce Act.

Marstel Terminals announc-
ed a joint venture with "several major multinationals" to invest $35 million in stage one of a bulk liquid terminal in Brisbane.

Infratil will sell its 5% holding in Powerco ahead of a merger of Powerco with CentralPower.

Macraes Gold Project's output lifted by 26% to 85,584 ounces in the June half year.

Institutional investors in Fisher & Paykel questioned an executive share issue, asking for clarification of its terms. The shares will be issued "at a discount of not more than 33% of the market price."

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