Thursday, November 15, 2007

Share Investor Friday Free for all: Edition 11

Fonterra front footing it

The announcement yesterday of a possible listing on the NZX by New Zealand's biggest company, Fonterra, is the best news the New Zealand economy has had in generations.

Fonterra, a global milk products producer, manufacturer and exporter is a huge contributor to NZ Inc and the company has become a dominant force in the Global Dairy products boom.

It has now got to the point though, that it needs some serious capital to allow it to grow larger and compete with the likes of Nestle, Danone and Kraft. Fonterra's cooperative structure doesn't allow the company to raise the capital needed to foot it with the other big boys as the dairy industry players grow in size, through acquisitions and mergers.

There has been much bleating by Unions and the NZ First Political Party that the proposal isn't a good idea but frankly as Unionists and pollies what the hell would they know about business.

This is great news for Fonterra and its long term future and excellent news for New Zealand investors as they will be able to participate in an industry that dominates our export revenues and economy and contribute to the investment of a great business.

The NZX is going to be more indicative of our economy by having Fonterra listed, possibly sometime in 2010, and the index will get the much needed boost that it has lacked all these years simply because of the impact the company has in our economy.

A cash cow indeed.

Sky City twiddling thumbs in the back row
Sky Tower, Auckland, NZ

News this week that Sky City Entertainment(SKC) is not likely to be able to tell the market anything about the 3 companies currently looking over SKC's books and what their intentions will be until "after Christmas" leaves this writer wondering how far management can stall shareholders any longer.

The timetable initially stood at an announcement at the end of October, then mid November and now after xmas. It makes me wonder how serious prospective bidders might be and doesn't inspire confidence in a good price for the company or a sale at all.

In other company news, contenders for SkyCity Cinemas - which could be worth as much as $116 million - are understood to include Australian firm Greater Union, US-based Reading Cinemas and Hoyts, previously a partnership between PBL and West Australian Newspapers, which was purchased by Australia's Pacific Equity Partners.

The vagaries of management speak are truly alive and well at Sky City, this from the company November 14:

SkyCity said yesterday it did not expect to progress with the cinema sale before the end of November.

What the hell does that mean, will they give a bloody deadline?

Sky City Management surely must be nominees for the worst board for 2007.

Morrison speaketh with forked tongue

I'm having trouble taking Lloyd Morrison seriously.

Morrison, the chief executive of Infratil, a director of Wellington Airport and a backer of a second airport for Auckland at Whenuapai has $300 million invested in Auckland Airport(AIA) on behalf of Infratil and the NZ Super Fund.

The trouble with this though is that Morrison's directorship of Wellington Airport and backing of a second port in Auckland put him in direct conflict with his large ownership of AIA shares and his ambition to get a seat on the AIA board.

Morrison says there is no conflict but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that he is staining credibility paper thin if he thinks that.

He was caught out today on National Radio Business today and last week when he said that the Canadian Pension bid was too low at $NZ3.65 and mentioned a price north of 4 bucks per share as being fair value for the company.

Interesting take when you consider than Infratil was involved in a bid, earlier this year, that was rejected by the board as too low, probably below the Canadian bid.

Morrison is a savvy investor and he is using subterfuge, doublespeak and attacking competitors in his bid to get some sort of control in the Auckland Airport deal/s.

While the AIA board hasn't been straightforward with shareholders over the last 8 months of this protracted bid for control of the port, Morrison's intentions are not clear and he cannot be trusted and shouldn't be elected to the AIA board on November 20.

In takeover news, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has made a formal bid for AIA today.

The key terms of the offer are as follows:

Offer Price: The consideration offered for each Outstanding AIAL Shares taken
up under the offer is $3.6555 in cash.

Partial Offer: The Offer is for 39.53% of the AIAL Shares not already held or
controlled by the Offeror

Closing time: The Offer closes at 5.00pm on 13 March 2008
Partial Offer: The Offer is for 39.53% of the AIAL Shares not already held or
controlled by the Offeror

Closing time: The Offer closes at 5.00pm on 13 March 2008

Hollow words, hollow competition

The owner of Share Trader and many other financial based sites in New Zealand threatened to "take legal action" over this revelation published in the Share Investor Blog a month ago and insisted it be removed and an apology made but as yet has failed to serve me with a writ.

This individual also made a threat of "legal action" over my use of "Good Returns Bookstore" banners on my site back in July even though I was legitimately using them as a genuine affiliate.

Now I don't take kindly to threats and I am justly annoyed by this pest, but I guess threats ring pretty hollow when you use them as your modus operandi when doing business and don't follow through.

Good Returns Bookstore, owned by Tarawera Publishing, continues to spam me with emails to buy their books, even though I canceled my affiliate membership and Tarawera's Sharetrader continues to host my contributions on their site, even though I didn't sign up to their new draconian membership terms and conditions (see the fee for spamming!!) as part of Tarawera taking over the site.

*Incidently you can buy all types of finance books from my Share Investor Bookstore, the range is many hundreds of times larger and at least 30% cheaper than Good Returns Books.

Sort yourself out Phil!

Learning to love China's_Republic_of_China.svg/800px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svg.png

World markets have been nervous again over the last few weeks. The Dow has slipped from over the 13600 mark to just above 130000, oil has reached almost 100 bucks, gold is over US$800 and the US dollar is doing an impression of a tiger moth with one wing.

Shakiness over future sub prime losses for banks and financial institutions have been blamed and to be sure there is more to come once sweetheart mortgage deals end but like any market jitters the market tends to overreact.

I think what could be happening now and we wont really know it for sure until we look back, is that we are partially seeing the start of the transition of dominance from the US as the financial and economic powerhouse to China. To be fair it ain't there yet but early signs seem to be showing the genesis of something akin to an economic transition.

The low value of the Yuan and the Chinese economy powering ahead means their economy will only power ahead in the future, while the US, a massive importer of foreign made goods is struggling as their dollar sinks and imports cost more.

Also the US as a safe haven for foreign investment is being eroded as their interest rates plummet and the cost of repaying debt to China gets ever more expensive.

The transition of America from a manufacturer to their home market and huge importer to a bigger exporter must come and will be easier to do as their dollar drops against their main trading partners.

It is then China will be seen as an opportunity to US manufacturers instead of a threat and the whole cycle of economic change will start again.

Let us remember that China was an economic powerhouse once before.

NZX Market Wrap

The NZSX-50 index, closed up 1.1 points at 4114.2, on turnover valued at $138.5 million.

Auckland Airport fell 3c to 301, after Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP) submitted its formal cash bid for 39.53 per cent at $3.6555 per share. The airport company has also asked its advisers to seek other offers.

AIA shares had earlier risen to 308 before profit takers moved in. Turnover was a heavy $46.8m.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances rose 4c to 364, having gained about 30c since its first half result last week. The company is also considering selling its finance company to focus on its whiteware manufacture and retailing businesses.

Market heavyweight Telecom gained 4c to 425, Fletcher Building was up 8c at 1166 after being caned for most of the last week or so, and Contact Energy lost 5c to 885.

F&P Healthcare was up 3c at 328, Sky City gained 5c to 537 after getting knocked about yesterday after a broker downgrade. Sky TV lost 8c to 562, and Vector recovered some of yesterday's 6c loss to close up 3c at 233.

Air NZ, which has had a rough ride recently due to rising fuel prices, rose 1c to 202.

Among other stocks to gain, NZX was up 5c at 961, Freightways rose 2c to 380, Infratil was up 2c at 293, Nuplex gained 5c to 725, and carpetmaker Cavalier was up 3c at 315.

Hellaby Holdings lost 2c to 271, despite news it was trading ahead of last year, when it posted its first loss since re listing in 1994.

Rakon fell 5c to 515, Tower was down 4c at 204, Hallenstein Glasson lost 3c to 445, Mainfreight was 5c lower at 710, and The Warehouse was down 2c at 522, marking time while waiting for a decision by the Commerce Commission as to whether Woolworths or Foodstuffs can make a bid to takeover the company.

On the NZAX , Burger Fuel International was down 2c to 60c.

NZ Dollar Wrap

Reuters currency rates
(5pm today - 5pm yesterday, NZ time)

NZ dlr/US dlr US75.43c - US76.47

NZ dlr/Aust dlr A85.28c - A84.97c

NZ dlr/euro 0.5162 - 0.5210

NZ dlr/yen 82.96 - 85.14

NZ dlr/stg 36.93p - 36.17p

NZ TWI 69.72 - 70.48

Australian dollar US88.46c - US89.99c

Euro/US dollar 1.4613 1.4679

US dollar/yen 110.00 111.29

Disclosure: I own Sky City and Auckland Airport shares

C Share Investor 2007

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