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New Zealand Business Times Headlines

New Zealand Business Times Headlines
September 21.

Ihug forced to sell Video Business In Back-To-Basics Strategy Page 1

Internet service pioneer Ihug has abandoned another high-profile entertainment partnership, as it strives to make money from its core internet and broadband communication activities. Ihug has bailed out of its controlling shareholding in New Zealand¹s largest video rental chain Video Ezy, making a loss on the deal.. Previously announced mergers with Sky Television and Force Corporation also failed, after what insiders describe as ³cultural differences² between those companies and Ihug¹s joint founders and major shareholders, Tim and Nick Wood.

Australia Offered To Underwrite Ansett, Says Farmer Page 2,42

The Australian Government had indicated it would underwrite Ansett to the tune of $300 million, according to Air New Zealand chairman Jim Farmer. The money would have kept the airline flying, Mr Farmer has told the NZ Business Times. But the money did not come through, and Mr Farmer said disaffected Ansett workers should therefore be directing their anger at the Australian, and not the New Zealand, government.

Analysts Say Air NZ Reputation Is Still Good Page 9 Air New Zealand¹s future will ultimately lie in forging new international alliances ­ but the immediate priority is to get its own core businesses back in order. That¹s the message from overseas aviation consultants as the international industry braces itself for years of turmoil in the wake of the New York disaster. Aviation specialist believe that New Zealand¹s beleaguered carrier still has a good international reputation which in the long-term won¹t be harmed by its current regional problems.

Size Of Economic Outlook The Great Unknown Page 1

One week out from the New York disaster, New Zealand investors know the answer to some questions: the world¹s financial system has not collapsed, and the New Zealand market has not been gripped by panic. They also know the degree to which US policymakers are committed to ensuring the world¹s biggest economy does not become a black hole for growth. Wall Street is back on track, and while its fall has been brutal, trading was orderly and the drop consistent with a major economic shock. But more questions remain unanswered, chiefly the size of slowdown as a result of New York.

Fisher And Paykel Directors To Get Big Payout Page 2

Fisher and Paykel directors will receive big retirement payouts when the appliance giant separates into two new companies later this year ­ even though they will take on new highly-paid directorships with the company¹s offspring. Deputy chairman John Gilks will receive a $127,500 payout from Fisher & Paykel Industries, despite taking up a new $60,000 deputy chairmanship with spin-off Fisher and Paykel Appliances. The biggest bonus payout will go to current Fisher & Paykel chairman Sir Colin Maiden, who will get a ³retirement benefit² of $170,000 and a new directorship with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare for $40,000 a year

TVNZ Financial Squeeze To Pinch Local Programming Page 8

The amount of local programming commissioned by Television New Zealand is set to be squeezed as the state broadcaster strives to reduce costs. The state broadcaster this week unveiled a profit of $30 million for the year, with the strong performance of the transmission arms offsetting a slump in advertising revenue. Chief executive Rick Ellis estimates that savings or revenue improvements of $15 million will be needed if the broadcast businesses are to remain profitable. And he expects a further $20 million will be need to be generated in 2003 and 2004 to maintain the required level of return.

Pharmaceuticals Industry Losing Jobs Page 4

Warnings of calamity in the pharmaceutical industry because of the government¹s drug-purchasing policy are coming home to roost, with hundreds of development jobs now being lost. Drugs manufacturers say the purchasing policy, which awards exclusive long-term supply contracts to cut-price suppliers,, runs counter to the government¹s stated objective of encouraging hi-technology and scientific industries. Douglas Pharmaceuticals, which has lost millions of dollars in sales since the new policy was introduced in 1993, has now decided to put a cap on its manufacturing investment in New Zealand

Prime Television¹s Future Looks Clouded Page 6

The future of New Zealand¹s smallest free-to-air network Prime Television looks bleak with its Australia parent admitting advertisers are sceptical about its long-term viability. The New Zealand operation has just reported a $A10 million ($NZ12 million) loss for the June financial year and Prime concedes agencies are reluctant to book advertising until it demonstrates its commitment to improved programming and an expansion of its coverage.

Six Parties Line Up For North Island Forests Page 6

At least six parties have placed indicative bids for the collapsed Central North Island Forestry partnership (CNI) placed into receivership in February, according to a source close to the negotiations. All are potential final bidders with enough clout to close the deal, the source said. The large plantation estate -- jointly owned by Fletcher Forests and China's CITIC ­ owes more than $637 million to bankers. Investment bank Morgan Stanley will carry out due diligence and final bids will be in by the end of December. The sale is expected to be complete by early next year.

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