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NZ Business Times Headlines – Oct 12

Headlines from the New Zealand Business Times

Qantas Offer For Air NZ Still Stands ­ Dixon Page 1

The chief executive of Qantas Airways, Geoff Dixon, says his company¹s offer for Air New Zealand still stands but said it is not inevitable that New Zealand¹s national carrier will wind up owned by its Australian rival. Amid another week of dramatic developments at Air NZ ­ which saw the departure of CEO Gary Toomey, the injection of $885 million in government money, and the slashing of directors¹ fees ­ Mr Dixon said he still believes Qantas and Air NZ are a natural fit. And the day after his departure from Air NZ, Mr Toomey said Air NZ still needs a major partner and that Qantas, where he previously worked, is the logical answer.

Lion Nathan Targets Again Stalked By Allied Domecq Page 7

Brewer Lion Nathan is pushing ahead with its twin bids for Australian wine groups Banksia Wines and Petaluma amid news that British-based Allied Domecq has assembled a 14.97 percent stake in Banksia. What has surprised market pundits is the revelation that Allied commenced buying in Banksia just over two weeks before Lion made its takeover bid of $A1.12 ($NZ1.36) a share. Allied bought stock on seven separate occasions at prices between 77.7 and 86.9 cents per share. But by far the bulk of its holding was purchased on October 5 after the Lion bid. The news has aroused speculation that Allied might have taken small stakes in a number of wine companies.

Telecom and Vodaphone To Relaunch Troubled Text Agreement Page 7

Advertising is to recommence today for the ability to text message between the Vodafone and Telecom mobile networks, after earlier advertising caused an overload of testing that crashed the system. Telecom and Vodafone recently reached agreement to allow text messages to be exchanged between the two networks, but the service was suspended just days after advertising began last week. Up to 80 000 messages a day were sent between the networks before Telecom pulled the service, saying it was unable to handle the load of messages.

United Video II Slammed By Critics Page 2

In a move that aggrieved claimants find blatant and insulting, United Video Franchising ­ trading under ³new² ownership ­ is back in the market place, advertising its stores as ³Exciting Franchise Opportunities². The advertisement appears in the Spring 2001 edition of Franchise New Zealand, making a number of claims that disgruntled current and past franchisees firmly disagree with. As revealed by the NZBT last month the franchise company was found guilty of misleading former franchise owners Valerie and Darryl Kirby about the income to be earned from a flagship United Video store they bought in Whangaparaoa.

Power Industry Players Ignored Storm Signals Page 1

In November last year, Simon Neale and his colleagues in the electricity trading team at Contact Energy did what most of us do each day ­ they listened to the weather report. But unlike most of us, they were not simply trying to decide if they should take an umbrella to work. Their weather watching had a strict financial imperative. The electricity traders were tracking weather patterns intensely to try and predict the future supply and demand of electricity.

Taupo Businessman To Take On Electricity Establishment Page 6

Maverick Taupo businessman Alistair McLachlan is set to take on the electricity industry establishment once more, with a proposal to construct a 45 megawatt power plant above his family's geothermal energy field just west of Taupo. Mr McLachlan and his family-owned company Geotherm Group Limited has lodged resource consent applications to build the new power plant and is now seeking to raise the estimated $80 million it will take to build the facility.

Talleys Move On Affco First Step In Wider game Page 14 A move by fishing and food group Talley¹s to take a further 10 percent stake in listed meat company Affco is seen as the first step in the amalgamation of the New Zealand food export sector. Motueka-based privately owned Talley¹s has injected $6 million into Affco by lifting its stake to 11.3 percent through the purchase of 20 million shares. Neither Affco executive chairman Sam Lewis or Talley¹s Peter Talley is willing to discus the strategies behind the move but analysts and industry participants see the investment as an important stepping stone for both companies.

Tourism Being Hit By War and Ansett page 3

It was the call that inbound tour operators were dreading. A Japanese travel company was on the line last week with bad news. It was cancelling three charter flights that were scheduled to come to New Zealand this month. The cancelled charter flights were to have each carried just 200 people each, but these cancellations alone represented $3.5 million in lost revenue for the New Zealand tourism industry. That is because Japanese visitors are the most economically valuable to our tourism industry, spending on average $5 867 per visit.

Time Right To Overhaul Tax System ­ Business Page 5

As the McLeod taxation review committee finalises its report on the tax system, business leaders are saying the time is right to overhaul New Zealand¹s climate for promoting investment. The McLeod committee this week announced it will make its final report public on October 24. Finance Minister Michael Cullen set up the committee ³to carry out a public carry out a public review into the tax system so that the government has an appropriate framework within which to build tax policy².

Need For NZSE To Lift Its Game Highligheted BY ASX Move Page 5

The need for the New Zealand Stock Exchange to lift its game has been highlighted by the Australian Stock Exchange¹s announcement of proposed changes to its foreign company exemption rules. The NZSE is understood to be furious with the move, regarding it as a calculated snub following ill-fated merger talks earlier this year.

Fisher And Paykel Separation Lacking A Plan B Page 6

In a meeting resounding with the noise of back-slapping and congratulations, Fisher and Paykel shareholders this week approved the planned split of the company into separate entities, floating part of the healthcare division on the US technology stock Nasdaq. But uncertainty on United States markets following terrorism attacks means the Nasdaq listing is in doubt.

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