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Stocks to watch: Air NZ, Allied, AIA, LPC, PGC

Stocks to watch: Air NZ, Allied, Auckland Airport, LPC, PGC

Dec. 23 (BusinessWire) – The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading yesterday. All prices are in New Zealand dollars unless specified.

Themes of the day: Figures today may show the economy expanded 0.3% in the third quarter, accelerating from the second quarter on low borrowing costs and a revival in the housing market. Shares rose in the U.S. overnight and the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, fell below 20 for the first time in more than a year. The kiwi dollar weakened to 70.27 U.S. cents.

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR): The national airline yesterday announced a return to the Australian market with a new Sydney to Rarotonga service in 2010. That marks the first route between Australia and a country other than New Zealand since 2003. The shares were unchanged at $1.19 yesterday.

Allied Farmers (ALF): The shares climbed 9% to 10.9 cents yesterday, valuing the company at $191 million. The company acquired the financial assets of Hanover Finance and United Finance by issuing 1.9 billion shares. Managing director Rob Alloway defended the company’s communications over the share transaction after some investors complained they hadn’t been able to transact the stock.

Auckland International Airport (AIA): The nation’s busiest gateway yesterday said it had negotiated a new $150 million standby facility with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ that matures in 2013. The facility replaces a syndicated $100 million arrangement that was due to expire in March 2010. November traffic data, released yesterday, showed arrivals from Australia, the nation’s biggest source of tourists, climbed 11% last month. Total overseas arrivals climbed 0.8% while domestic passenger volumes rose 7%. The shares rose 4 cents to $1.96 yesterday.

Infratil Ltd. (IFT): The investment group and the Guardians of NZ Superannuation this week said they have signed a letter of intent with Royal Dutch Shell Group to acquire the oil company’s downstream assets in New Zealand. The letter doesn’t constitute a binding agreement though it does “represent Infratil and the Guardians’ clear intention to proceed.” The stock gained 1.8% to $1.66 yesterday.

Lyttelton Port Co. (LPC): The South Island’s biggest port company plans to spend $100 million on a project to deepen the harbour channel by four metres, the Press reported. Lyttelton has applied to Environment Canterbury for resource consents for the work, which will allow larger vessels into the port, according to the report. The stock last traded at $2.40 on Dec. 15.

New Image Group (NEW): The health products company said it is trialling a milk product in Taiwan that may help people sleep. The product has high levels of peptides, the company said in a statement yesterday. The shares were unchanged at 67 cents yesterday and have soared almost 420% this year.

Pyne Gould Corp. (PGC): South Canterbury Finance sold 29.5 million shares in the finance group for 50 cents apiece. Pyne Gould cornerstone shareholder George Kerr took up about half the shares, taking his holding to about 15%. The shares rose 2.2% to 47 cents yesterday.


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