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Hassall to chair Fletcher Building, 4 new directors named

Fletcher Building Ltd will have a new chair & 4 new directors on 1 September. 2 directors will retire.

Sir Ralph Norris will step down as chair, replaced by Bruce Hassall (pictured at right), who was appointed as an independent director on 1 March 2017.

The 4 new directors, all independent, are Barbara Chapman, Robert McDonald, Doug McKay & Cathy Quinn. The company also intends to appoint an extra Australian director.

2 directors will retire – Alan Jackson by rotation at the annual meeting, after 9 years, and Cecilia Tarrant on 1 September, after 7 years, to allow an additional director to be appointed to the board as it oversees the implementation of the new Fletcher Building strategy.

Sir Ralph said the appointments would strengthen the board’s expertise & diversity.

Expertise is an important factor, because it was the lack of board expertise in the construction sector that was most notable in the collapse of the company’s vertical construction performance. The company is exiting that part of its business – 4 projects left to complete.

Sir Ralph said today: “While our original intention was to seek a director with construction experience, with our appointment [as chief executive] of Ross Taylor, who has considerable expertise in this area, our decision to exit the vertical construction sector and a new strategy in place, we believe the appointments we have made will best support the company’s new strategic direction.”

Mr Hassall has extensive experience across both public & private sectors. He was chief executive & senior partner at accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers NZ. He will relinquish his role as chair of the audit & risk committee.

The new directors:

Barbara Chapman.

Barbara Chapman, BCom: Ms Chapman retired after 7 years as managing director & chief executive of ASB Bank Ltd, and previously as group executive human resources & group services for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Barbara recently joined the boards of Genesis Energy Ltd & NZME Ltd as an independent director.

She began her career with the Commonwealth Bank Group in 1994 and has held senior executive roles responsible for marketing, communications, human resources, retail banking & executive leadership in New Zealand & Australia.

She has also chaired Oxfam NZ and been a director of Oxfam International, was an inaugural trustee of the NZ Equal Employment Opportunities Trust and chaired it for several years and is an inaugural member of the “25 Percent Group”, which aims to increase diversity at senior management levels & within New Zealand boardrooms.

Rob McDonald.

Rob McDonald, BCom, FCA: Mr McDonald retired as Air NZ Ltd’s chief financial officer at the end of 2017 after 24 years with the airline. He was appointed group financial planning manager in 1993, group treasurer in 1995 and chief financial officer in 2004.

He’s an independent director of Contact Energy Ltd and will take over the chair there on 1 September. He’s a director of Chartered Accountants of Australia & NZ and will chair Fletcher Building’s audit & risk committee.

Doug McKay.

Doug McKay, BA, ONZM, CMinstD: Mr McKay was the first chief executive of the new Auckland Council in 2010, on a fixed term until 2012. Before that, he had an extensive background in leading large organisations in both New Zealand & Australia, including senior roles at Carter Holt Harvey Ltd, Lion Nathan Ltd & Goodman Fielder Ltd, and as chief executive at Sealord and chief executive & executive chairman of Independent Liquor (NZ) Ltd. He chairs the Bank of NZ & Eden Park Trust and is an independent director of

Cathy Quinn.

Genesis Energy Ltd, IAG NZ Ltd & the National Australia Bank.

Cathy Quinn, LLB, ONZM: Ms Quinn is a commercial & corporate lawyer. She leads the mergers & acquisitions and private equity teams and the China practice at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, and has chaired the firm for 8 years. She’s a director of Tourism Holdings Ltd and a board member of the NZ Treasury & the NZ China Council.

Progress pleases Norris

Sir Ralph Norris presenting the annual result last August.

Commenting on the appointments, Sir Ralph Norris said: “When I announced that I would step down as chairman in February I committed to first completing the chief executive transition & board refresh I had commenced, and I am pleased with the progress that has been made.

“Our chief executive, Ross Taylor, is now firmly established in the role and has led the development of a focused strategy that aims to deliver long-term growth for shareholders. Our balance sheet has been strengthened following a successful capital raising, and the company is on track to deliver 2018 financial guidance.

“Bruce Hassall will bring strong & steady leadership as Fletcher Building’s new chairman, and will complete the board refresh with the appointment of an Australian director in the coming months.

“Our 4 new independent directors are high calibre individuals who bring a mix of commercial, operational & governance expertise, which will greatly enhance the experience & diversity of the board.

Attribution: Company release.

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Australia the next big focus for Fletcher, offsite construction an innovation example

Fletcher Building Ltd chief executive Ross Taylor said in a presentation in Sydney yesterday the group intended to grow its Australian business over the next 5 years to be bigger than its New Zealand construction & building products business.

To do so, he expects to take a leaf out of the New Zealand business’s success, the vertical integration & intercompany trading which make up 11% of its business here but only 3% in Australia.

Fletcher Building chief executive Ross Taylor.

Mr Taylor & chief financial officer Bevan McKenzie gave 2 presentations, to media and then to analysts, on the company’s 5-year strategy.

At the end of the first presentation, Mr Taylor said: “We’d expect, 5 years out, Australia to be bigger than New Zealand. You’ve got to say that’s the vision for Fletcher Building. That puts a marker here, that we want to be bigger in Australia.”

In a pre-presentation story on the documents yesterday, I characterised the strategy as spring-cleaning. After one streamed presentation and going through the similar documentation presented to analysts, that remains a reasonable view of it.

Some of the “strategy” amounts to exhortation to do better, as in this from Mr Taylor: “25% of our businesses have a culture of innovation. We need to drive this to 100% over the next couple of years.”

The company has already announced parts to be sold – Formica and the Roof Tile Group.

Fletcher has stopped seeking new work for its commercial vertical construction business, the exceptionally troubled part of the Building + Interiors division, and will continue to wind it down.

That leaves the strategy focus on getting the remaining New Zealand businesses to perform better, and lifting output in Australia. The starting point is the departure of about 90 staff – either gone or leaving – and the repositioning of the multi-business structure, with new appointments, titles & selection of business segments to command.

From the outside, what do you see in Fletcher Building? If it’s not in your segment of the market but might decide to enter it, you need to be wary of possible outcomes. In New Zealand construction-related business beyond the troubled commercial construction segment, Fletcher is not looking at downsizing.

At one point, Mr Taylor said Fletcher would assess “everything we do through a customer lens” [versus the control temperament which has driven the Fletcher business model for decades]. But mostly the presentations were about clarifying business portfolios and driving the businesses within them harder.

How the strategy looks

Below are excerpts from the presentations, with some explanatory comment.

Any portfolio decisions need to position us to take advantage of key macro trends:

Product innovation:

  • Green & efficient buildings: regulation & changing consumer preferences drive innovation in energy efficiency
  • Moving into an era of advanced functional materials & more resilient systems

Service & channel innovation:

  • Personalised service expectations are growing. Customers interact with a brand (not a channel) and expect the same experience no matter what channel
  • Incumbents & new low-cost entrants offering digital services & online purchasing to end consumers

Labour productivity:

  • Pre-assembled structures reduce the need for onsite labour and speed up construction times
  • Value shift in favour of larger manufacturing entities able to invest in offsite production facilities

Global supply chains:

  • Low cost country (LCC) sourcing for inputs continues to present large cost reduction opportunities
  • Globalisation of competition from LCC producers & Western players threaten share & margin erosion

Continuing to manage multiple platforms across multiple geographies from a capital & capability perspective was likely to be challenging. Therefore we have decided to focus the business.

Our starting point: a portfolio made complex through lack of a clear strategy.

With Fletcher Building at only 15% of the overall NZ market & 1% of Australia in residential, non-residential and infrastructure & other, there are ample opportunities to grow share and pursue new “adjacencies”.

Adjacencies? What Mr Taylor presented was a chart (below) showing market segments where Fletcher Building has a presence, and those where it doesn’t – and therefore might expand.

“Our first priority will be to refocus on our core, and actively defend and grow NZ Building Products & Distribution.

“In New Zealand, we will continue to leverage businesses that are complementary to our core and strong performers in their own right. Golden Bay Cement-Winstone is a strong performer. The core adds value by generating pull-through. Residential & Development is a strong performer that adds value to the core by generating pull-through and driving innovation (eg, panelisation). In Construction, we have strong market positions and generate pull-through, but we have to get it performing.”

The decision to exit market sectors

“Finally, we had a choice to make. We had 2 legitimate plays relative to the core, but we couldn’t do both given constraints around capital & capability.”

Option 1: Turn around & grow Australia as a natural extension to the Fletcher Building core
Option 2: Drive Formica to full potential with focus & capital
The decision: Australia is the preferred growth platform.

Intercompany sales

An important factor was a comparison between the opportunity to drive sales between Fletcher companies. At Formica the opportunity was minimal, whereas in Australia it was high. Compared to intercompany sales in New Zealand – $660 million, 11% of total sales of $6.2 billion – Australian intercompany sales last year were worth only $80 million, or 3% of $3.1 billion total sales.

From there, the vision, and that is “to be the undisputed leader in NZ & Australian building solutions – with Products & Distribution at our core”. Under that heading, Mr Taylor pointed to “where to play” and then to “how to win”.

Where to play:

Refocus on the core:

  • Defend & grow NZ Building Products & Distribution
  • Leverage complementary positions in Concrete & Residential

Stabilise Construction:

  • Close out B+I within provisions
  • Grow infrastructure & roading businesses

Strengthen Australia:

  • Achieve a successful turnaround
  • Replicate select NZ positions in Australia

Exit non-core businesses:

  • Divest Formica & Roof Tile Group

From there, Mr Taylor said the next step was “how to win”, which came with 5 bullet points:

  • A simpler & leaner, decentralised operating model
  • Innovating to achieve continuous improvement and take advantage of key macro trends
  • Disciplined performance improvements in safety, sustainability, procurement & operations
  • Growth capex focused on strategically important, high returning business units
  • Adding infills & adjacencies.

He said Fletcher Building saw 3 broad stages to advance those intents over the next 3 years (June balance dates):

2019: stabilising – turnaround or exit
2020: solid performance
2021: growth

Cutting central control

One key element of these changes is to reduce “an overweight central overhead” – that “overhead” will be moved closer to the front line for an annualised cost saving estimated at $30 million, expressed this way: “Moving front line-focused activity back to the divisions & business units to better serve our customers, control risks & grab opportunities”.

Mr Taylor said: “25% of our businesses have a culture of innovation. We need to drive this to 100% over the next couple of years.”

Existing examples of innovation include:

  • Laminate exterior cladding
  • Mobile PVC manufacturing
  • Gypsum-based rigid air barriers
  • Benchtop, roofing & façade integrated photovoltaics
  • Lightweight flooring systems
  • Self-cleaning steel roof panels
  • 3D concrete printing

Offsite construction impetus

“Panelisation” – more factory completion of buildings or building components – fell under the heading of labour productivity rather than innovation. Mr Taylor said the company had completed 2 successful prototypes, had tested modularised vertical construction and was looking for a factory site in Auckland. He expected it would cost $15-20 million to build.

“We’ve trialled panels on a number of houses. Of the 1000 houses we’re doing, we’ve got 300-350 houses/year we can panel – you can’t do it on every house. We’re testing it on our own houses. Over the next 12 months it will be operating fully.

“You get savings when you get scale of throughput and you drop it [the house construction timeframe] from 22 weeks to 9.”

The big projects

On the group’s lossmaking issues with vertical, large commercial construction, chief financial officer Bevan McKenzie said confidentiality agreements meant it wasn’t for Fletcher to make announcements. However, he said the Building + Interiors division had completed 7 of 16 projects it had underway when the company revealed the division’s exponential lossmaking last year, 5 more would be completed this year and 4 would be completed in 2019, including the major pair in Auckland, SkyCity Entertainment Ltd’s NZ International Convention Centre and Precinct Properties NZ Ltd’s Commercial Bay redevelopment of the old Downtown Shopping Centre.

21 June 2018, Fletcher Building strategy presentation slides

Earlier stories:
21 June 2018: Fletcher Building strategy amounts to a spring clean – board announcement tomorrow
20 April 2018: Institutional bookbuild puts $1.35 premium on Fletcher shares
18 April 2018: Big Fletcher fundraiser plus divestments intended to stabilise construction’s fallen giant
4 April 2018: Lenders give Fletcher Building 2-month waiver extension
2 March 2018: Fletcher gets US waiver, still negotiating funding terms
21 February 2018: Fletcher half-year loss $322 million
14 February 2018: Another $486 million of losses for Fletcher Building, and Norris resigns
8 February 2018: Fletcher Building warns of worse to come
19 January 2018: Regulator clears Fletcher Building of continuous disclosure breach
27 October 2017: Sheppard turns Fletcher meeting into “absolution or exorcism” exercise
25 October 2017: Fletcher issues guidance, names new chief executive
21 September 2017: 
A year on, Fletcher board still has ‘construction nous vacancy’ pencilled in
17 August 2017: 
‘Fessed up, time to move on, says an unconvincing Fletcher boss
21 July 2017: 
Fletcher Building takes axe again to construction earnings, Adamson ousted
20 March 2017: 
Fletcher Building cuts earnings guidance by $110 million
19 March 2017: 
Fletcher Building to explain construction loss Monday morning
22 February 2017: 
Fletcher Building net up 2% after site closures

Attribution: Company presentation, live stream.

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Fletcher Building strategy amounts to a spring clean – board announcement tomorrow

Fletcher Building Ltd confirmed its revised strategy today, but will make another announcement about board changes tomorrow.

The key part of today’s strategy announcement is a rejigging of senior executive jobs, including more appointments to the top tier, the executive team.

The company has already said it will sell 2 businesses, Formica & Roof Tile Group. It’s appointed Macquarie Capital Ltd as advisor on selling Formica.

The “strategy” amounts to a spring clean for an outfit that likes to gather businesses as it goes along, then finds it’s a structural mess.

The strategy statement: Fletcher Building confirms diversity out, simpler & leaner in with focus on NZ, Australia

Fletcher Building chief executive Ross Taylor.

Fletcher Building Ltd chief executive Ross Taylor said today the company had confirmed its strategy, “which is designed to improve financial & operating performance by focusing its portfolio on the New Zealand & Australian markets and introducing a simpler & leaner operating model”.

Mr Taylor said: “Fletcher Building is currently one of the most diversified building materials companies in the world, with operations spanning multiple geographies, sectors, value chains & product lines.

“As we announced to the market in April, we have made the decision to focus our portfolio by divesting our Formica & Roof Tile Group businesses and focusing our capital & capability behind the New Zealand & Australian markets.

“While we don’t expect these markets to experience the same levels of growth they have seen in recent times, we do expect them to remain stable, and with only 15% share of the New Zealand market & 1% in Australia, there is plenty of opportunity to deliver more from our existing operations.

“In New Zealand our focus will be on growing our core operations in building products & distribution, leveraging our strong positions in the concrete value chain & residential construction, and returning construction to sound operating performance by closing out remaining Building + Interiors (B+I) projects within provisions, and profitably growing our infrastructure & roading businesses.

“We will leverage global trends in product, service & channel innovation to deliver more value for our customers right across our portfolio. Taking one example, with our planned investment in a new panelisation plant in Auckland, we will aim to deliver homes more efficiently for a supply-constrained market.

“In Australia we are targeting a significant improvement in the operating & financial performance of our existing businesses and, in time, we will seek to expand our portfolio as we have done in New Zealand through targeted acquisitions.

“We see the strategy being delivered over 3 broad stages. In the 2019 financial year (to June 2019) we will focus on stabilising & turning around our existing businesses, while divesting Formica & Roof Tile Group. By the 2020 financial year we should be well positioned to deliver solid performance across the portfolio, and from the 2021 financial year onwards we want to be achieving strong revenue & earnings growth year on year.

“With successful implementation of the strategy, we aim to deliver above-market revenue growth & improved operating margins over the medium term.”

Mr Taylor said that, to enable the new strategy, Fletcher Building would:

  • target investment behind its most strategically important & highest returning businesses
  • increase its focus on innovation
  • pursue improvements in procurement, operational efficiency & working capital, and
  • introduce a simpler & leaner decentralised operating model.

The company will introduce the new operating model on 1 July and aims to:

  • reduce overheads across the group by $30 million/year
  • empower businesses at the front line, and
  • deploy a new divisional structure that will align businesses to the new strategy.

The changes to structure have resulted in a number of new appointments to the Fletcher Building executive team , which will also be effective from 1 July:

  • Dean Fradgley, distribution chief executive, has been appointed to the newly created role of chief executive Australia. All Australian businesses will now sit within this one division
  • Bruce McEwen, PlaceMakers general manager, will join the executive team as chief executive of distribution NZ, which includes PlaceMakers & Mico
  • Ian Jones, GBC Winstone general manager, will join the executive team as chief executive of the newly created Concrete Division, which includes Golden Bay Cement, Winstone Aggregates & Firth
  • Hamish Mcbeath, Fletcher Steel general manager, will join the executive team as chief executive of the newly created Steel Division, which includes all the company’s New Zealand steel businesses
  • David Thomas will continue as interim chief executive of the revised Building Products Division, while a permanent replacement is recruited
  • Steve Evans will continue as chief executive of the Residential Division
  • Michele Kernahan will continue as chief executive of the Construction Division
  • Claire Carroll has been permanently appointed as the chief people & communications officer
  • All other corporate function executive roles remain unchanged.

There is no change to the estimated 2018 financial year ebit (earnings before interest & tax) for the group (excluding B+I & significant items) of $680-720 million and no change to the estimated B+I ebit loss of $660 million announced on 14 February.

Mr Taylor said the 2018 result was likely to include a number of significant items, including:

  • restructuring charges associated with the implementation of the new operating model (a charge of between $85-95 million)
  • a gain on the sale of Fletcher Building’s 20% stake in the Dongwha processing plant through Laminex NZ (a gain of about $12 million), and
  • a likely impairment of the carrying values of the Rocla & Roof Tile Group businesses.

Fletcher Building will announce its financial results for the year ending next week (30 June) on Wednesday 22 August.

Attribution: Company release.

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Fletcher Building to present strategy live online from Sydney on Thursday

Fletcher Building Ltd will present its strategy to investors & analysts in Sydney on Thursday at 11am NZ time (9am Sydney time).

The webcast will be screened live online and will be available later on replay on the company website.

Head of communications Leela Gantman said today investors would be able to ask questions live via the webcast facility: “While every endeavour will be made to answer all the questions that are submitted, this may not be possible due to time constraints, and is at the discretion of Fletcher Building management.”

The company will release its annual result on Wednesday 22 August.

Live webcast

Attribution: Company release.

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Augusta industrial fund closes oversubscribed

Augusta Capital Ltd confirmed yesterday that the Augusta Industrial Fund closed oversubscribed with $75 million raised.

Managing director Mark Francis said the acquisition of the initial properties in the portfolio was to be settled later in the day.

As part of the capital raising, Augusta Capital has subscribed for 7.5 million shares and intends to hold a 10% stake as a long-term investment.

Mr Francis said a limited number of investors were reinvesting their funds from other Augusta-managed properties which have sold and would settle in the next month. As a result, Augusta will hold a limited number of shares for the next 2 weeks and then transfer to those investors.

He also said Augusta had received a large number of applications at the close.

The initial portfolio consists of 12 Brick St, Henderson; 862 Great South Rd, Penrose; 20 Paisley Place, Mt Wellington; and The Hub, Seaview, Wellington.

Together, that initial portfolio will have the following key features:

  • a weighted average lease term to expiry of 8.7 years
  • 100% occupancy
  • a diversified mix of 15 tenants, and
  • a 60% weighting to the Auckland industrial market.

Augusta will receive establishment & underwriting fees in connection with the offer as well as ongoing management fees consistent with the NPT Ltd management agreement, which Augusta entered in March.

Image above: 862 Great South Rd, Penrose, back on to Auckland’s Southern Motorway. The area marked in green will be redeveloped.

Earlier stories:
25 May 2018: Transformation hits Augusta bottom line, but confident company lifts dividend
1 May 2018: Augusta industrial fund set to open next week
27 March 2018: Augusta settles NPT management rights payment
12 March 2018: Augusta gets agreement to add 4th building to industrial fund
2 March 2018: Augusta delays industrial fund launch to get fourth property in

Attribution: Company release.

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Commission opens investigation into Fulton Hogan’s Stevenson acquisition

The Commerce Commission has opened an investigation into Fulton Hogan Ltd’s proposed acquisition of Stevenson Group Ltd’s construction materials business.

The commission said yesterday it would consider whether the acquisition would be likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any relevant market in breach of section 47 of the Commerce Act. The acquisition is due to be completed by 31 July, but the parties haven’t applied for clearance for it.

Fulton Hogan is one of New Zealand’s largest roading & infrastructure construction companies. The commission said it would focus initially on the potential competitive effects of the proposed acquisition on quarry markets in Auckland & North Waikato.

It would also consider whether any competitive effects arise from Fulton Hogan’s proposed acquisition of Stevenson’s concrete plants, transport, laboratory services and associated plant & equipment.

The commission seeks input to its investigation by Friday 29 June.

The sale would leave Stevenson’s with its property development & mining operations. Its biggest property interest is the 360ha Drury South industrial park it’s begun developing.

Related stories:
7 April 2017: Kiwi Property plans new town centre next to Stevenson’s Drury development
30 August 2013: Drury South industrial area plan change & MUL extension approved

Attribution: Commission release.

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2 new Blackstone funds have $US9.4 billion to invest in Asia

US fund manager Blackstone Group LP closed investment in 2 Asian funds this week – its first Asian private equity fund, Blackstone Capital Partners Asia, on Tuesday, and its second Asian opportunistic real estate fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia II, on Wednesday.

At $US2.3 billion, the private equity fund is comparatively small – the real estate fund has $US7.1 billion of capital commitments. But the whole of Blackstone’s private equity business has $US111 billion of assets under management.

Coupled with associated commitments from its global buyout fund, Blackstone’s capital partners fund has a minimum of $US3.8 billion of equity to invest in Asia.

Blackstone’s global head of private equity, Joe Baratta, said: “The region continues to experience strong growth compared to other major markets, presenting compelling investment opportunities across sectors.”

Blackstone Real Estate global co-head Ken Caplan said the real estate fund was the largest it had ever dedicated to real estate investing in Asia. He said it gave Blackstone flexibility to pursue a range of opportunities and commit capital with speed & scale.

Blackstone’s real estate business has about $US120 billion in investor capital under management. Its portfolio includes hotel, office, retail, industrial & residential properties in the US, Europe, Asia & Latin America. It also operates a real estate finance platform, including management of the publicly traded Blackstone Mortgage Trust.

Link: Blackstone Group

Earlier stories:
18 May 2018: Goodman & Singapore fund sell VXV portfolio to Blackstone
2 February 2018: Blackstone’s Arena Living buys Mt Eden Gardens
17 February 2016: Blackstone buys Lendlease’s NZ retirement villages

Attribution: Company releases.

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Fed lifts rate to 2%

The US Federal Reserve lifted its federal funds rate target range to 1.75-2% overnight, up 25 basis points on top of a similar raise in March.

At 2%, it’s now above the NZ Reserve Bank’s official cashrate of 1.75%.

At the foot of this story, you can check the shifts in US & NZ central bank rates over the last 3 years.

The US central bank reduced its target range for the funds rate to 0-0.25% in December 2008 and held it there until December 2015. It lifted its target rate to 1.25-1.5% in December 2017.

The rationale

The Fed’s open market committee said in its overnight decision that, since it met in May, information indicated that the labour market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising at a solid rate.

“Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined. Recent data suggest that growth of household spending has picked up, while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation & inflation for items other than food & energy have moved close to 2%. Indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.

“Consistent with its statutory mandate, the committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labour market conditions and inflation near the committee’s symmetric 2% objective over the medium term. Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.

“In view of realised & expected labour market conditions & inflation, the committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.75-2%. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labour market conditions and a sustained return to 2% inflation.

“In determining the timing & size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the committee will assess realised & expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective & its symmetric 2% inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labour market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures & inflation expectations, and readings on financial & international developments.”

Links to Fed economic projections:
Projections (PDF)
Accessible materials

Earlier stories:
10 May 2018: Expect a 1.75% cashrate for some time, says Orr
14 December 2017: Fed lifts funds rate target
15 June 2017: Fed lifts rate again
15 December 2016: Corrected: Fed lifts rate
10 November 2016: Wheeler cuts cashrate to 1.75%
11 August 2016: Wheeler makes 25-point cut & warns of more
17 December 2015: Fed takes rate above zero

Attribution: Bank release.

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Unibail-Rodamco completes Westfield deal

Unibail-Rodamco SE completed the acquisition of Westfield Corp Ltd at the end of last week to create an owner of 102 shopping centres in 13 countries – including some offices & convention spaces, a €62 billion ($NZ104 billion) portfolio.

It doesn’t include the former Westfield mall assets in Australia & New Zealand, moved to the Scentre Group in 2014.

The enlarged mall-owning entity based in Amsterdam & Paris, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, describes itself as “the premier global developer & operator of flagship shopping destinations”.

88% of its portfolio is in retail, 7% in offices and 6% in convention & exhibition venues. 56 of its malls are flagships in Europe & the US.


Earlier stories:

25 May 2018: One last step for UnibailRodamco takeover of Westfield
13 December 2017: Unibail-Rodamco strikes deal to buy Westfield

Attribution: Company release.

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Updated: Chow Group to delist

Published 7 June 2018, updated 8 June 2018:
Chow brothers John & Michael lifted their combined holdings above the 90% threshold for compulsory purchase of their NZAX-listed company, Chow Group Ltd, on 31 May and said today (8 June) they intend to complete compulsory acquisition within 3 weeks – by Friday 29 June.

The brothers lifted their holdings from 88.592% to 90.09% on 31 May and said then they would delist the company.

The share price was stuck on 5.8c for the few sales through May, rising to 6c last Wednesday.

Sharemarket operator NZX Ltd still says on its website the NZAX (NZX alternative market) “is the marketplace for small to medium-sized, fast-growing businesses seeking a safe & efficient capital-raising facility”. It says much the same about its NXT market, launched in 2015 to replace the NZAX.

But a year ago the NZX decided to can both its junior markets, forcing participants on to its main board.

Chow Group listed in early 2016 through the reverse takeover of RIS Group Ltd, one of the shell companies listed on the NZAX by broker Brett Wilkinson.

Earlier stories:
17 June 2016: Chow Group records $8 million profit as listed company
11 November 2015: Chows use RIS Group to backdoor list property portfolio

Attribution: Company announcement.

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