Electricity and gas distributor DUET Group (ASX:DUE) reported a turnaround in the half year result driven by another strong contribution from the Dampier Bunbury pipeline.
Sydney, Feb 22, 2010 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Australian shares and Asian markets Friday were down on the US Federal Reserve's decision to raise the discount rate for the first time since the financial crisis. NAB's flat cash earnings result also weighed on the Australian shares. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index declined 19.8 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 4635.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index slid 17.6 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4656.3. The local market gained 2 per cent for the week.
Key Economic Facts and Figures
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) governor Glenn Stevens said in a speech to the House of Representatives on Friday that further adjustments to monetary policy will be needed to ensure inflation remains consistent with the RBA's two to three per cent target band. Mr Stevens also said borrowing rates in Australia are still 50 basis points to 100 basis points below average.
Australian Bureau of Statistics releases new motor vehicle sales for January.
Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co. (ASX:WCB) said Friday it has unanimously rejected the revised proposal from Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co. Limited, citing the offer does not incorporate appropriate vale for its medium and long term prospects, current and future initiatives, unique geographic location and strategic position in the Australian dairy industry. The revised proposal is A$4.35 a WCB share, which would value the company at A$174 million.
Important Corporate News
Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) said net profit for the six months to December 31 was US$43 million, sharply down from US$760 million in the previous corresponding period. The result was impacted by non trading items - the revaluation of the Leucadia loan Note and foreign exchange adjustments.
Drilling service provider Boart Longyear Ltd (ASX:BLY) has reported an annual net loss of US$14.9 million due to limited access to financing by junior miners and reduced expenditure related to exploration for major resources companies. The company said it is cautiously optimistic about the outlook in 2010, expecting a 15 per cent growth revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$170 million for the full year.
National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) reported that cash earnings for the first quarter were steady on year at A$1.1 billion, up 20 per cent from the three months to September 2009. It also said bad and doubtful debt charges are not expected to return to the peak experienced in the third quarter of the 2009 financial year.
Electricity and gas distributor DUET Group (ASX:DUE) reported a turnaround in the half year result driven by another strong contribution from the Dampier Bunbury pipeline. Net profit for the six months ended December 31 2009 was A$80.7 million, compared to a loss of A$147 million a year ago. The previous year's loss was mainly attributed to the impact of mark-to-market losses on interest trade and foreign exchange derivatives used for hedging purposes.
Spotless Group (ASX:SPT) said its first half net profit rose 41% after the labour services firm won a number of large new contracts. Net profit was A$24.5 million in the half ended Dec. 31, from A$17.4 million a year before. Spotless expects revenue and earnings in the second half of fiscal 2010 to exceed those of the first, despite some continued uncertainty over the timing of a sales recovery in both business divisions.
Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd (ASX:HTA) posted a US$467.7 million annual net profit for the year to December 31 due to gains realised through its merger with Vodafone Australia. HTA chairman Canning Fok said HTA is pleased with the early progress and continuing customer growth of the merged company, Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
Pike River Coal Limited (NZE:PRC)(PINK:PKRRF) Friday announced the first export shipment of its premium hard coking coal to India. Pike River's inaugural export shipment of 20,000 tonnes of premium hard coking coal is being shipped from the Port of Lyttelton on board the Tian Bai Feng to Bedi Port in Gujarat, India.
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co.hold.ltd
Spotless Group Limited
Pike River Coal Limited
National Australia Bank Limited
Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd
Boart Longyear Limited