Asia Closes Mixed, Australia Elections Eyed

This is a transcript of top stories presented by China's CCTV Business Channel as produced by CNBC Asia Pacific.

Hello to our viewers all over China.

You're watching Asia Market Daily, co-produced by CCTV Business Channel and CNBC, first in business worldwide.

I am Saijal Patel and here are the top stories across Asia today.

Our first stop in Australia, where the jockeying of power begins.

The country’s two major parties are now wooing independent lawmakers, after elections over the weekend left the country facing its first hung parliament in 70 years.

Let's get to Sydney where CNBC's Matt Taylor has the details - Matt?


Thanks very much Saijal. Still no clarity on the Australian election result - with the weekend vote delivering no decisive winner.

Both of the major parties fell short of the required 76 seats needed to form government... and it now looks like a hung parliament is the result.

Which party forms government will now depend on 3 main independents.

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All the polls said the 2010 election battle would be close, but few thought the result would be like this. Right down to the wire with no definitive outcome, the most likely prospect is a hung parliament. The past 5 weeks of the election campaign had seen polling fluctuate and it was clear as counting started the race would be close, the outcome now remains dependant on a few remaining marginal seats that are still too close to call.

(SOT) Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia:

"There are many seats where the result is undecided and where it will take a number of days of counting to determine the result. Friends, as we know in our great democracy every vote is important, every vote must be counted and we will see that happen in the few days ahead of us."

The most likely scenario is that we will see a hung parliament in Australia — for the first time since 1940. The decision on which party will form government will lie with 3 or 4 independents — who will no doubt be courted by the major parties over the coming days.

(SOT) Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader of Australia:

"The Liberal and National parties are back in business, we stand ready to govern and we stand ready to offer the Australian people stable, predictable and competent government."

To claim victory, the winning party needs 76 seats in the lower house — a feat it appears is out of reach of both Labor and the coalition without the help of the independents which way the independents will lean remains to be seen. Whatever the final outcome, one clear message from voters is a significant swing away from the ruling Labor party — less than 3 years into government and after axing their once popular leader Kevin Rudd.

(SOT) John Howard, Former Prime Minister of Australia:

"It can truly be said that this has been a magnificent campaign and a great personal triumph for Tony Abbott. Tony Abbott brought the Liberal party back from the dead."

One thing is certain and that is that there is still much more uncertainty ahead and for the markets, that's the worst possible outcome.

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The Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott are now scurrying to hold talks with the independents — but it's unlikely we will know who will form government for some weeks.

Today in Australia — mining stocks got a boost on hopes of a Liberal Coalition victory — which would see the proposed 30 per cent tax on mining profits scrapped.

Back to you.


We take a look at how regional markets performed at the start of the trading week.

It was a mixed day for stocks in the region.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 still on a losing streak, closed down by almost 0.7 percent.

The strength of the yen is a concern for Japan. The currency's climb to a 15-year high against the dollar puts pressure on policy markers to come up with measures to support the economy.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the central bank governor held talks over the phone today to address the issues.

They are closely watching movements in the yen.

But there was no talk on intervention on yen trading levels, and that disappointed the market somewhat.

Meantime, South Korea's KOSPI finished lower by more than 0.4 percent.

In Australia, the S&P ASX 200 closed flat at 4429.

Mining stocks managed some gains, as investors bet on a new conservative minority government, which may scrap the proposed mining tax.

Moving on to South Korea.

Today is the deadline for advisory firms to bid for Woori Finance's privatization process.

Two domestic and one foreign bank will be selected by the second week of September.

Meanwhile local media reports say Woori has asked KT and POSCO to buy the government's stake.

SBS-CNBC's Rhie-young Lim has the details on how this long-awaited spin off could play out.

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They're calling it the beginning of the "big bang" in the South Korean financial industry - the long overdue privatization of Woori Finance, a transaction estimated to be at least $5.1 billion (6 trillion won). The government has recently sweetened the offer in an attempt to unload its 57% majority stake and recoup the $11 billion in public funds it injected in the bank, after the Asian financial crisis.

(SOT/Voice of translator) Kim In, Eugene Investment Securities:

"According to the government's recent announcement, whoever buys up a 30% stake will be considered a major shareholder. The government will keep the remaining 27% stake."

There are several ways the privatization could take place. Currently, there are four scenarios for this spin-off to play out. Although, experts are ruling out a block sale because Woori finance has already done several or an outright merger due to the high price tag. The bank itself would prefer a share sale, to enable it to keep its independence.

(SOT/Voice of translator) Kim Hong-Dall, MD, Woori Financial Holdings:

"Local and foreign FIs can buy a stake by forming a consortium. We expect many investors in and out of the country to be interested because of Woori's potentials such as improved stock performance in the future. The mere fact we are owned by the government undervalues our stock by 20%. We are definitely sure that this privatization will happen."

But skeptics say even a 5 percent stake would cost some $507 million (600 billion won) and won't even give the investor any management rights. Which leaves the last possibility - a part merger, part acquisition. And so far, Hana Financial is the only bidder that has officially voiced interest - involving 3 different transactions. And KB financial may have said it's not ready for a merger yet but the group did raise 1 trillion won recently, citing a possible M&A.

(SOT/Voice of translator) Kim In, Eugene Investment Securities:

"KB Financial has 6 trillion won in its coffers — enough to pursue this M&A. They are just not saying it because their stock price dipped and the labor union scuffled when they voiced interest. There's no doubt that they will pursue it."

Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure, the privatization of Woori Finance will see a mega bank emerge, one that is expected to force the rest of the industry to beef up to compete. SBS-CNBC, Rhie-young Lim.

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Well, that wraps up today's business highlights.

I'm Saijal Patel from CNBC.

Have a good evening.

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