Headlines From The NZ Business Times

Published: Fri 9 Nov 2001 10:33 AM
Allegations of Collusion in Auckland City Tender Page 1
The Commerce Commission is investigating allegations of collusion during a tender of lucrative Auckland City Council rubbish disposal contracts earlier this year. The Commerce Commission probe comes as Auckland City Council also faces a multi-million dollar damages claim in the High Court from French rubbish disposal giant Onyx, which was one of the losers in the tender process. If found guilty of collusion, corporates face fines of more than $10 million, or three times the value of any profits they have made. Auckland City awarded in March its rubbish collection contracts for the next seven years. The contracts were won by joint ventures involving EnviroWaste , a company linked to regional funding body, Infrastructure Auckland.
Heineken Ready To Mop Up D.B. Page 1
Brewer DB Group is set to be the next big listed company to be completely taken over by an overseas-based company. D.B.¹s improved performance over the past 12 months is making it increasingly attractive to its major shareholder, Singapore¹s Asia Pacific Breweries. Eric Nelisson, regional director for Asia Pacific Breweries and a DB Group board member, confirmed the group ­ which is controlled by Dutch brewing giant Heineken - is still keen to buy out minority shareholders. Achieving 100 percent ownership will allow Asia Pacific Breweries to make greater use of DB Group¹s brands ­ including beers like the West Coast¹s Monteith¹s label.
Missing Kiwi Money In Evergreen Tracked To Switzerland Page 3
An investigation into an international currency fraud which has cost New Zealand investors $45 million is focusing on Europe, with money already traced to Swiss bank accounts. Auckland-based investigator Mark Van Leewarden, who is acting on behalf of New Zealand investors, has traced $7 million belonging to clients of New York currency trading firm Evergreen International spot Traders Inc to a Swiss bank account, his colleague Peter Snelgrove said. The Swiss Government announced this week that it had frozen the Swiss accounts of First Equities Enterprises, which was Evergreen¹s clearing house operator, as a result of a US Department of Justice request.
Aussies Trying To Poach High-Growth NZ Business Page 2
Australian city and state-government officials have been actively trying to lure New Zealand businesses across the Tasman. New Zealand cities need to wake up to this ³cherry-picking² and start promoting their regions more actively, according to Richard Didsbury, chief executive of listed investor Kiwi Income Property Trust. Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have all been actively taking steps to secure future growth and expansion, by encouraging high-potential businesses to set up in their neighbourhoods. The cities, assisted by state governments, are offering cash incentives and tax breaks ­ and are also actively promoting the educational and infrastructure assets of their cities.
Manukau To Hold On To Auckland Airport Shares Page 8
Manukau City Council intends hanging onto its stake in Auckland International Airport, despite moves from its Auckland neighbour to exit the company. Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Cutis told NZBT this week he believes local authorities should retain their stakes in listed companies whether it be Auckland Airport or Ports Of Auckland, which is controlled by Infrastructure Auckland. New Auckland Mayor John Banks has already signalled that he is keen to sell the council¹s 25 percent stake in the airport. Manukau City has a 9.6 percent stake in the airport, owning just over 40 million shares.
Pyne Gould Looks To Claw Back Bad Loan Money Page 6
Pyne Gould Corporation is looking to clawback some of the $20 million it paid Dunedin-based St Andrews Group for its Frontline Finance assets last year. Pyne wants some of the money back because the quality of security for Frontline¹s loans is not as good as expected. Part of the purchase price has been held in an solicitors¹ account, pending final valuation of assets, and Pyne is likely to get this back. Parties are remaining tightlipped about the amount of cash involved. Pyne Gould Corporation¹s chief executive, Richard Elworthy and St Andrews¹ managing director, John Gilks, both said the sum involved is not significant, although sources have suggested the exposure could be several million.
Local Governments Look To Assert Control On Infrastruture Fund Page 8
Auckland local authorities are looking to exert greater control over Infrastructure Auckland. With speculation mounting that the funding body is facing a shake-up, IA chief executive Richard Maher and chairman of the body¹s electoral college, Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis, this week tried to play down suggestions that the organisation is to be restructured. However, Sir Barry confirmed that the electoral college is seeking Government permission to modify the body¹s statement of corporate intent to allow it to take a more ³influential² role in the running of the organisation. And although Finance Minister Michael Cullen denied that he is putting pressure on IA to broaden its investment strategy, Sir Barry revealed that the electoral college has rebuffed a proposal from central Government that would have given IA lending powers.
Frucor Battle Turns Increasingly Bitter Page 6
A battle for control of drinks company Frucor is turning increasingly bitter, with the company¹s executives upping the ante in their attempts to find a rival suitor for the company. Frucor executives last week enlisted brokerage Credit Suisse First Boston to seek out a rival bid, after French company Danone launched a $2.35-a-share bid for the company two weeks ago. Now Frucor has hired public relations heavyweights Weber Shandwick Worldwide to wage what is expected to be a hard-hitting campaign to push up the value of the company. The New Year is looking grim for the tourism industry, with industry leaders picking a $120 million drop in business as a result of international turmoil.
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