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Week in review

Friday 19th September 2003

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Qantas announced it was following Air New Zealand in dropping business class from New Zealand domestic flights and adopting the low-cost model on domestic routes and the Tasman. Virgin Blue almost simultaneously announced a Christchurch -Brisbane service, to fly as Pacific Blue.

The New Zealand Exchange has agreed to list equity derivatives on the Sydney Futures Exchange, paying a licence fee and taking fee revenues.

Urbus Properties sold three Wellington buildings for $23.4 million, a $750,000 surplus to book value. The company joined the NZX50 index on September 1.

State-owned Kiwibank lost $8 million in the June year, down from a $10.2 million a year ago. The bank said it was still on track to make a profit in 2005.

Health insurer Southern Cross reported a $2.8 million June-year operating deficit before investment income. Chairman Bryan Kensington said the result showed a return to financial sustainability after the $37.7 million 2002 loss.

Restaurant Brands warned the first-half profit would be lower than the previous year's, because of lower margins, despite reporting record $95.7 million second-quarter sales.

Westpac pulled out of the bidding for Lloyds TSB unit National Bank, leaving only ANZ Bank and possibly HSBC as serious bidders. Westpac said participation had diverted it from its "core organic growth strategy."

The independent directors of Sky Network Television said they didn't agree with takeover bidder INL that Sky's share price contained a healthy premium. Recent rises had merely matched a rally in other media stocks, assisted by good operating results.

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund named AMP Henderson and Brook Asset Management managers of two of its four New Zealand listed equity portfolios. Their portfolios are expected to be about $100 million each in a year's time.

Tranz Rail borrowed $77 million from Toll Holdings to buy out its lease on the ferry Aratere. Toll's takeover bid for the rail carrier is all over bar the shouting.

A bond issue by Mighty River Power raised $100 million and $13.8 million of oversubscriptions.

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