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Headlines from the New Zealand Business Times


Headlines from the New Zealand Business Times

Merge Exchange With Australia, Urges Sir Ron Page 3

Sir Ron Brierley, New Zealand¹s most recognised investor, says this country¹s stock exchange can no longer survive in isolation and should merge with its Australian counterpart. ³For the first time ever, I¹d have to say that there is a question of whether New Zealand can have a credible, standalone market,² Sir Ron told the NewZealand Business Times. He said New Zealand officials were wrong to reject a proposal earlier this year to merge with Australia, and that plans should be revisited. ³Let¹s not pretend that the opportunities for large scale equity investment in New Zealand are plentiful ­ they are not,² Sir Ron said. ³The philosophy of a merger is correct, despite the fact that some brokers here had their own agenda and couldn¹t agree on it.²

JB Were Prepares Briscoes Float Page 2

A prospectus for an initialpublic offering of shares in retailgroups Briscoes and Rebel Sports has been finalised and isbeing filed with the stockexchange. The float ­ which will be byfar the most significant newshare investment opportunity on the New Zealand Exchangethis year ­ values the retailingbusiness at close to $200 million. The float is being organisedby brokerage JB Were, whichhas been chosen in part because it has promised to attract abroad range of investors to thestock. Briscoes and Rebel Sport are currently owned by interestshas insisted that it be pitched toretail investors as well as institutional investors.Pricing for the float is still being finalised, but it isexpected to be conservativelyvalued in order to win broad support.

Kiwi Unlocks $1.2bn for Film Fund Page 2

ANew Zealand financier hasunlocked a $1.2 billion filmfund ­ but most of it is likely to go to overseas productions. Gary Hannam¹s Film Investment Corporation FIC)and the Australian-basedEntertainment Finance Group (EFG) have teamed with theGerman bank Commerzbankto launch a film fund which isexpected to finance two to four features a year from American mini-studio Franchise Pictures. The Academy Film Fund islooking to raise 200 millioneuro ($NZ415 million) throughthe Commerzbank¹s client baseof private investors, but thegroup hopes ultimately tolaunch at least two funds annually,so the total amount couldbe as high as 600 euro oraround $NZ1.2 billion a year.

Singapore Is Virgin Blue¹s Preferred Partner in Air NZ Page 8

ASingapore Airlines-strengthened Air New Zealand would bethe best option for the Australasian aviation market, according to Virgin Blue. As speculation mounts that the government will opt for a compromise deal with Singapore Airlines, Virgin¹s head of commercial operations David Huttner said he does not believe a Qantas/Air New Zealand deal will be healthy for the region. ³We don¹t have a preferred outcome, but we do have concerns that if Qantas and Air NZ got together, you would have the two dominant players in each of the markets becoming one dominant player in the region,² Mr Huttner said.

Property Developers Offer tenants Big Inducements Page 8

Competition in the retail property sector is seeing some key tenants extract significant inducements from developers. The Farmers group has been able to use its position as an anchor tenant to encourage Westfield malls to partly fit-out its stores. Farmers general manager Nick Lowe confirmed his company has been able to extract favourable deals from Westfield, especially given competition for its business from rival group AMP Global Property.

Cities Miss Out on Rural Bonanza Page 13

The rural boom has deposited serious amounts of cash into farmers¹ pockets, but none of it is likely to seep into themain centres. Although the regions are benefiting, farmers have changed their spending habits and are reinvesting the extra money into their businesses and paying money at off-farm investments and luxury purchases, which often used to be the case in the past. ASB Bank¹s general manager of rural banking, Ian Farrelly, said farm overdraft levels are at the lowest they haveever been and farmers are taking the opportunity to replace farm machinery and do maintenance.

Retailers Band Against Govt Tax Proposals Page 6

The Retail Merchants Association (RMA) is meeting next week to fight government proposals which it says could bankrupt businesses for non-payment of tax. The IRD is currently reviewing taxpayer debt and hardship penalties to be included in the next tax bill. The review will clarify the Inland Revenue¹s role in maximising the recovery of outstanding tax. The RMA will meet in Auckland to prepare a document arguing that small retail businesses face "horrendous costs" for tax miscalculations, as they have to has come out is related to penalties.

Green Light for White Heron Hotel Site Page 5

Redevelopment of Auckland¹s landmark White Heron Hotel site is back on the drawing board now that planned apartments on the adjacent Rodean site have been granted resource consent. Developer John Williams of Queen City Group said that he is very close to being able to make plans for the property public. At present, a number of options are being worked through and he should be able to present these in about three weeks. The prime White Heron site, positioned at the end of St Stephens Avenue overlooking Judges Bay and the Waitemata Harbour, has a history of planning objections.

ENDS

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