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NZ Business Times Headlines

NZ Business Times Headlines

The following Headlines from the New Zealand Business Times September 28.


Disgruntled United Video franchisees faced more troubles this week with the company announcing it has sold the business ­ including franchise agreements ­ to former shareholder and director of the chain, Bill McPartland. Neither the existing owners, Brian and Suzanne Simcox of Wellington, nor Mr McPartland ­ who is Mrs Simcox¹s brother ­ would comment on reasons for the sale or the amount paid for the assets. However, the move comes little more than a month after Justice Randerson ruled the company, United Video Franchising Limited, was guilty of misleading a former franchisee about the money to be made from a Whangaparaoa store.

Brash viewed confidence as key to rate cut page 1

When Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Don Brash sharply cut interest rates last week he surprised a lot of people, both by the size of the cut ­ 50 basis points ­ and the swiftness of his action to support the economy. But some also wondered: what did Dr Brash know about the economy that would lead him to such an uncharacteristic action? As Dr Brash and his monetary policy committee met on September 18, the day before the announced cut, the overriding issue on their minds was business confidence. They feared the New York and Washington terrorist strikes would severely damage confidence in the New Zealand economy and lead to recession. By taking pre-emptive action, they tried to arrest that mood before it became self-fulfilling. The release today of the National Bank of New Zealand¹s business confidence figures for September show that the World Trade Center bombing came at a time when business confidence was already showing signs of fading.

Tranz Rail Floats Govt Network Buyback page 3

The government might have to get back into the rail business if it wants to retain a national infrastructure, warns Tranz Rail managing director Michael Beard.With an announcement due within the next few weeks on the sale of the Auckland rail corridor, attention will to return to what role government is to play in the national rail network. Mr Beard stressed this week that Tranz Rail has made no direct representations to government for it to take over the national rail infrastructure. However, he is concerned about what he terms the unfair advantage the trucking industry enjoys over rail and is urging government to level the playing field.

Virtual Spectator Unleashes the Desktop Rock Concert page 2

First there was the desk bound ­ America¹s Cup sailor ­ now Virtual Spectator is offering the Big Day In for music fans. The pioneering internet application company this week unveiled a London-based division VS Music that will use its 3D animation technology to offer music users the best seats in the house for their favourite acts. The new division has clinched a deal with UK band Simply Red, which will allow fans using its 3D Global Viewer software to gain online access to the band¹s live concerts, cut between different camera angles and even go back stage. A radical increase in ad rates by Television New Zealand has been met with a surprisingly muted response from agencies and advertisers. While television networks normally adjust advertising rates quarter by quarter, the state-owned broadcaster is not only hiking rates for February and March by 10 percent but, in an unusual move, is also saying the increase is likely to apply to the rest of 2002 as well. Rather than the typical reasons for rate increases ­ changes in audience share or cost effectiveness ­ the move seems to be an attempt to make a fundamental shift to return the TV business to profitability.

Rhetoric and Bluster, but Anzac Relationship Will Prevail page 6

Amid talk of an Australian boycott of New Zealand goods and a bitter upsurge in anti-Kiwi sentiment, New Zealand political and business figures are keeping a close watch on whether there will be any lasting damage to the trans-Tasman relationship. "It¹s been pretty tender, there is a lot of anger out there," said one Sydney-based businessman who keeps an eye on business interests on both sides of the ditch. The collapse of Ansett has inflamed some tough talking in Australia that has gone beyond the usual rivalry, with Kiwi travellers, Air New Zealand particularly, and the government coming in for some heavy abuse. Unions have also been pushing for a consumer boycott of New Zealand products but that is yet to bear fruit. As New Zealand deputy high commissioner in Australia, Rupert Holborow says, the usual banter has lost its "jocularity". "We¹re looking more broadly at to what extent there will be collateral reputation damage to New Zealand," he said.

Cullen Makes ŒOpportunistic¹ Bid for Pacific Retail page 8

Eric Watson¹s Cullen Investments is positioning itself to offer $1.76 per share for some or all of the remaining 37 percent of Pacific Retail Group shares that it does not already owned through its subsidiary, Logan Corporation. Logan this week lodged a notice under the Takeovers Code that it may, after the 14-day pause required by the code, proceed with an offer of $1.76 per share for up to 100 percent of the major retailer. At this stage, however, it is not clear whether such an offer will take place or not, and early trading at slightly more than the $1.76 mark suggests some market participants may be hoping for a lift in the offer price. Food Fair Pullouts Concern Meat Companies


New Zealand meat companies are expressing concern that next month¹s food fair in Germany may be disrupted due to nervousness following the September 11 attacks on the United States. The ANUGA trade food fair normally attracts more than 6000 suppliers from around 100 countries and is an excellent opportunity for New Zealand food companies to display their products.

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