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Australia & New Zealand

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  • Australia's Westpac Names Gail Kelly as New Chief Thursday, 16 Aug 2007 | 10:07 PM ET

    Westpac Banking, Australia's fourth-biggest lender, said on Friday it had appointed Gail Kelly, the head of rival lender St. George Bank, as its new chief executive.

  • Wesfarmers Outlines Coles Restructuring Plans Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 | 10:45 PM ET

    Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers on Thursday outlined its restructuring plans for takeover target retailer Coles Group, planning to create three new business divisions and targeting supermarket store sales growth of 3% - 3.5%.

  • RAMS Extends Note Refinancing, Shares Plunge Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 | 10:20 PM ET

    Australian mortgage lender RAMS Home Loans Group said on Thursday it had extended the refinancing period for A$6.17 billion (US$5.1 billion) in maturing notes, slicing its share value in half.

  • Qantas Airways, Australia's largest airline, posted a 50% rise in annual earnings as expected on Thursday as passenger demand offset higher fuel costs and announced $820 million share buyback.

  • ASX Full-Year Net Profit Rises 46% on Record Volumes Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 | 8:08 PM ET

    ASX, Asia-Pacific's second-biggest listed stock exchange, said on Thursday full-year net profit rose 46%, ahead of analysts' forecasts, helped by record equity trading volume.

  • Asian Bank Shares Tumble on U.S. Credit Concerns Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 | 12:39 AM ET

    Shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Macquarie Bank and other large banks in Asia tumbled on Wednesday, hit by renewed concern about their exposure to the high-risk U.S. subprime mortgage market and turmoil in global credit markets.

  • Building materials group James Hardie Industries posted a 10% rise in first-quarter profit on Wednesday, despite a fall in U.S. housing construction, but warned of challenging market conditions ahead.

  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation's second-biggest lender, said on Wednesday second-half profit rose 17% on a booming funds management business, but flagged slower growth in consumer loans and business banking this year.

  • Australian radio and newspaper group APN News and Media reported a 5% rise in first-half earnings, meeting market expectations, as cost controls and a pick-up in outdoor advertising overcame a subdued New Zealand market.

  • Australian mortgage lender RAMS Home Loans Group said on Tuesday it could be negatively impacted if current volatility in global debt markets continued, sending its shares down 20%.

  • NZ Telecom in Mobile Services Deal with Telstra Monday, 13 Aug 2007 | 1:07 AM ET

    Telecom Corp., New Zealand's dominant phone provider, will allow rival TelstraClear to offer a mobile phone service over its network. The deal comes as the competition regulator proposes tougher rules to force mobile companies to share infrastructure, after an investigation into why New Zealand has only two operators -- Telecom and the local subsidiary of British mobile company Vodafone Group. 

  • Australian Employment Revives in July Wednesday, 8 Aug 2007 | 11:40 PM ET

    Australian employment revived in July as more people got full-time jobs, holding unemployment near 33-year lows and keeping upward pressure on wages and inflation.

  • Wesfarmers Revises Coles Offer, Raises Dividends Wednesday, 8 Aug 2007 | 10:25 PM ET

    Wesfarmers on Thursday offered to revise the mix of cash and scrip in its offer for Coles andlifted expected dividend payments as it seeks to win Australia's largest takeover.

  • Bendigo to Buy Adelaide Bank in Share Swap Deal Wednesday, 8 Aug 2007 | 9:57 PM ET

    Australian regional lender Bendigo Bank said it plans to acquire rival regional lender Adelaide Bank in an all scrip deal valued at around $1.6 billion, the two companies said in a statement on Thursday.

  • Telstra, Australia's largest phone company, said its 2007 net profit rose 2.9%, below analysts' forecasts, although mobiles and broadband revenues were strong, and offered a "prudent" outlook for 2008.

  • Brambles Shares Jump on Bid Talk, Asciano Buys Stake Tuesday, 7 Aug 2007 | 11:53 PM ET

    Shares in Australia's Brambles, the world's biggest pallet supplier, jumped 11% after news Asciano and its former parent Toll Holdings had bought stakes in the company fuelled takeover speculation.

  • Australia Central Bank Raises Rates to Decade High Tuesday, 7 Aug 2007 | 8:32 PM ET

    Australia's central bank raised interest rates to a decade-high of 6.5% on Wednesday, as expected, saying higher borrowing costs were needed to check inflation.

  • Shares in New Zealand's Auckland International Airport fell sharply in the morning trading session Monday after a senior minister was reported as saying the government was opposed to a takeover offer for the airport by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.

  • The past week has been a roller coaster ride for Asian markets.  And as far as roller coasters go, you could say that the Australian market took a nine G hit on Wednesday when the S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 3.3%, the biggest one-day percentage fall in almost six years. The reason for the dive – Macquarie Bank, issued a warning that retail investors in two debt funds face losses of up to 25%.

  • National carrier Air New Zealand said on Friday it would buy four Boeing 777-300 aircraft to give it the ability to seek new international routes. It added that it would leave its fuel surcharge unchanged, in contrast to some competitors.