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Of Bulls & Bears

Friday 18th August 2000

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Revealing website from Bendon

A few weeks ago, Ferdinand mocked Bendon Group for apparently forgetting its website when changing its name from Ceramco Corporation to Bendon Group. Despite the use in its annual report of a new website address at www.bendon.co.nz, visitors to the site were met with an error message saying "the domain name does not exist." Even more unfortunately, the address www.ceramco.co.nz was still live and full of promotional material for its china clays business. Investors will be relieved to know this matter has all been sorted out and the bendon.co.nz address is live. Oddly, the design of the site looks identical to the ceramco.co.nz site but with a few branding changes. In some ways, it almost looks as though the new site was put together in haste after the company realised it had overlooked its online material.

Kiwi firms outshine Aussie shares

Some of our larger companies and more successful companies, like Nufarm and Lion Nathan, have moved their head offices to Australia and made the lucky country their home exchange as well. Others are dual listing on the Australian Stock Exchange to take advantage of greater liquidity. Therefore, it is fitting to see some of these companies are making their mark across the Tasman, with several found in the top 20 of a number of investment criteria. Baycorp Holdings, for example, is the third most expensive company on the market, as measured by price to net tangible assets ratio. It is also the 17th most profitable user of shareholders' funds, making a 47% return last year. Telecom Corporation is the 17th most profitable company in Australia if measured according to profit as a percentage of sales. Meanwhile, Fletcher Challenge Energy is the 19th most expensive company if measured by price/earnings ratio.

Casting pleas before Swain

A full house of suits gathered at Auckland's plush Northern Club this week for an Institute of Directors function at which Minister of Commerce, Telecommunications, IT, Land and Statistics Paul Swain spoke. The topic was the looming takeovers code, which Mr Swain stressed was going to be implemented whether businesspeople liked it or not. Considering the flak business interests threw at the code the last time the subject was raised, forcing it to be shelved, Ferdinand's source braced himself for a tirade at question time. Instead, the toughest comment from the floor was a plea for a compulsory superannuation scheme to be introduced so more money would flow into our beleaguered share market. The sounds of a rush to the political centre were deafening.

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