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Company Briefs

Friday 1st September 2000

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The Securities Commission's inquiry into trading in Force Corporation shares before the announcement of a proposed merger with Ihug found there was insufficient evidence to conclude anyone had traded as an insider.

Powerco issued around $180 million of five- and seven- year bonds to its own shareholders and shareholders in CentralPower as a result of the merger of the two companies.

Three companies - Peter Cates, Midland Seed, and Alan Annett - have set up New Zealand Plant Breeding to commercialise new cultivars.

New Zealand Dairy Group awarded a $50 million contract to build a new milk powder plant at its Clandeboye site to Niro (NZ). The work is part of a $106 million expansion.

Holland's Etex Holding BV, the owner of manufacturing group Marley, applied to the Commerce Commission for clearance to buy Milnes Holdings. Milnes is an Australian company that owns New Zealand's Keyplas Ltd, a manufacturer of PVC piping.

Standard & Poor's put Kiwi Co-operative Dairies' long- term credit rating on creditwatch with negative implications as a result of the imminent purchase of a majority shareholding in Australia's Peters & Brownes Foods.

The Commerce Commission's preliminary view was that it would not authorise Ruapehu Alpine Lifts to buy Turoa Ski Resort.

Goodman Fielder sold its volatile ingredients division, Starch Australasia, to Washington-based Penford Corpor-ation for $A100 million ($132 million).

Australian furniture retailer Freedom struck a deal to put "stores within stores" in eight franchised Levene outlets around the North Island.

Sovereign Ltd, owned by Commonwealth Bank of Australia subsidiary ASB Bank, reported a $33.9 million June-year profit. New business premiums rose 30% to $226 million, residential property loans grew 78% to $722 million, and the Aegis financial planning unit tripled funds under administration, to $797 million.

Contact Energy is expected to raise about $200 million through its inaugural debt issue. Contact has finalised the establishment of its $A500 million Australian debt issuance programme, which was arranged and managed by Westpac. Westpac said the terms and conditions of the first issue were yet to be finalised. Westpac will lead manage the inaugural issue of the programme with ANZ Banking Group, Chase Securities and Deutsche Bank as dealers.

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