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Stocks to watch: Allied, AIA, NZX, WBC

Stocks to watch: Allied, Auckland Airport, NZX, Westpac

Dec. 24 (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: The kiwi dollar rose back above 70 U.S. cents after weak housing data in the U.S. weighed on the greenback. The NZX closes half an hour early today for the Christmas break and re-opens on Dec. 29.

Allied Farmers Ltd. (ALF): Shares in the finance company that’s taken over Hanover Finance’s loan books for some $400 million in an all-stock deal rebounded 22% to 13.9 cents in trading yesterday. The stock hit a record low 9.8 cents on Tuesday after 1.9 billion shares were issued to Hanover debenture and note holders. Only about 22 million shares have been offloaded this week, indicating the new shareholders haven’t dumped the stock.

Auckland International Airport (AIA): The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the former owners of a 36.6 hectare block of land acquired by the government in 1975 for the airport. Trustees of the Craigie Trust had argued that as the land was no longer needed for aerodrome purposes it should be offered back to the original owners. The shares rose 4 cents to $2 yesterday.

NZX Ltd. (NZX): The NZX, which may end up competing with the ASX for the local electricity futures market, warned against foreign ownership, saying home jurisdictions are better placed to meet industry requirements. The ASX established New Zealand electricity futures and options products this year, and government regulations may require mandatory hedging. Shares in the bourse operator were unchanged at $2.31 in trading yesterday.

Pan Pacific Petroleum (PPP): Premier Oil reported that the Ca Rong Vang well in offshore Vietnam Block 07/03 was drilled to its total depth without encountering any significant hydrocarbons. It will be plugged and abandoned. Pan Pacific is in the process of gaining a 5% interest in the block. The shares rose 2 cents to 50 cents yesterday.

PGG Wrightson (PGW): All new shares under the rights issue have been allotted, raising about $180.7 million, the company said yesterday. “It is an excellent result for PGW to have successfully completed the rights issue before the New Year,” said chairman Keith Smith. “This has allowed PGW to repay $200 million of bank debt and recapitalise the business well ahead of schedule.” The shares fell 6.5% to 58 cents yesterday, the biggest decline on the NZX 50.

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC): The Australian lender has settled with the Inland Revenue Department over structured finance transactions between 1998 and 2002. The lender said it provided for the settlement in its 2009 results and there would be a write-back of about A$150 million in 2010. The shares rose 62 cents to $30.52 on the NZX yesterday.


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