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Stocks to watch: AMP, Sanford, Telecom

Wednesday 17th November 2010

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Most of AXA Asia Pacific's independent directors have backed the AMP/AXA takeover, the government is introducing legislation to speed up approval for acquaculture farms and Telecom withdraws its dividend reinvestment plan.

AMP (AMP): Most of AXA Asia Pacific's independent directors have backed the A$13.3 billion takeover offer from AMP and AXA SA. The proposal valued the target at a minimum A$6.43 a share. AMP shares fell 39 cents to $6.76 on the NZX yesterday.

Fletcher Building (FBU): The country's biggest construction company is in a consortium that is one of two firms shortlisted to build Auckland's Waterview Connection, the biggest and most complex roading project in New Zealand. The other group is the bidding to construct the $2 billion, 4.5km connection between the Southwestern motorway with the Northwestern motorway is led by Australian construction company Leighton. Fletcher rose 1 cent to $7.94 yesterday.

Infratil (IFT): The investment holding company yesterday posted a first-half profit of $16.1 million, from a year-earlier loss of $31.4 million, helped by a jump in earnings at Infratil Energy Australia and a contribution from Greenstone Energy, which bought the Shell New Zealand assets. The shares fell 0.5% to $1.89 yesterday.

Sanford (SAN): The government is introducing legislation to speed up the approval process for acquaculture farms. Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley said the Aquaculture Amendment Bill (No 3) "that enables marine-based aquaculture to fulfil its economic potential." Shares of the fishing and marine farming company were unchanged at $4.70 yesterday.

Telecom (TEL): The nation's biggest phone company has withdrawn its dividend reinvestment plan and associated on-market share buyback for the first-quarter dividend payable on December 3. The phone company said it had anticipated an imminent announcement in relation to the government's Ultra Fast Broadband initiative when it flagged the dividend payment on November 5. Given the delay, Telecom "considers it is not prudent to proceed with the issue of shares under its dividend reinvestment plan," it said today. The stock was unchanged at $2.20 yesterday. 

Themes of the day: Shares dropped on Wall Street, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index down 1.8% amid speculation China will tighten credit and cool the world's fastest-growing major economy and Europe's debt crisis remained in focus. Milk powder fell to a three-month low in Fonterra's two-weekly online auction, based on the trade-weighted price index. The kiwi dollar fell to a two-week low 76.77 US cents.

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