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Of Bulls & Bears

Friday 22nd September 2000

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Evergreen grows fond of carbon

Trees in the ground are one of the least new economy assets around and it's hard to see how forestry and paper companies will be able to reinvent themselves for the 21st century. Evergreen Forests is having a pretty good crack at it judging by its latest annual report. Decked out in fancy icons and the obligatory lime green used to denote anything online these days, it even reserves its entire back page to promote its website www.evergreen.co.nz (suggested motto: download a tree). Inside, the company expresses considerable enthusiasm for the potential profits to be had from carbon trading. It notes the futures exchanges in New Zealand and Sydney are developing tradeable "carbon sequestration credits" that may be sold to filthy foreign firms struggling to meet pollution reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

Genesis takes shine from Nufarm

Nufarm shares have taken a pummeling in the past couple of weeks. From $4.40 at the beginning of September, the shares have slipped 14% to around $3.80. There is no obvious reason for this. The last Stock Exchange announcement by the Australian-based agricultural chemicals and biotechnology company (formerly New Zealand-based Fernz Corporation) was on August 31 when it said it had "secured an exclusive, worldwide licence to a potential new class of natural herbicides which target nine of the world's 10 worst weeds." This is hardly the sort of news that would send investors into a panic. The only thing Ferdinand can think of is that investors may be freeing up funds for the new biotechnology company on the block - Genesis. Genesis shares, which were massively oversubscribed in the offer, are due to start trading on both sides of the Tasman today. A Nasdaq-style float premium cannot be ruled out.

How Clark could hound consultants

The government has declared a crackdown on consultants, the types who charge $3000 a day for teaching public servants how to, well, give service. Ferdinand suggests Prime Minister Helen Clark and friends resolve to employ only those consultants who:

  • Enforce a ban on the words "synergy" or "value-added;"
  • Are paid according to the success of a project;
  • Admit they don't know everything;
  • Sometimes conclude a problem is caused by too much work for too few people;
That should reduce the number of consultants being used by 100%.

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