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Stocks to Watch: Port of Tauranga, NZOG profits rise

25 Feb 2009 10:48businesswire

The following stocks may be active on the New Zealand exchange after developments since the close of trading yesterday. Themes of the day: Stocks rebounded on Wall Street as investors were lured back by some of the lowest prices in 12 years and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke eased concern that the government was poised to nationalize banks.

Contact Energy Ltd. (CEN): Shares of the largest utility on the NZX 50 fell 4% to NZ$5.80 yesterday after the company posted a 79% slump in first half profits, attributing most of the blame to constraints on the Cook Strait cable. The utility plans to raise as much as NZ$300 million by selling bonds.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (FPA): Orbis Investment Management lifted its stake in the appliance manufacturer to 8.96% from 7.93%, according to a filing yesterday. The fund manager has taken advantage of a decline in the company’s shares – 60% this year – to increase its stake. F&P Appliances is predicting breakeven this year and may have to raise capital to bolster its balance sheet. The shares fell 9% to 50 cents yesterday.

New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZO): The oil company posted a 30% gain in first-half profit as revenue climbed 8% and it recognised a foreign exchange gain of NZ$19.4 million. Revenue is likely to be lower in the second half, reflecting the drop in oil prices and lower output from the Tui oilfield. The shares fell 4 cents to NZ$1.20 yesterday.

Port of Tauranga (POT): The port company posted a 10% gain on first-half profit to NZ$22.5 million, as freight tonnages rose 6%. The interim dividend was held unchanged at 9 cents and Chairman John Parker said the port faced a “challenging year” in 2009, with full-year earnings likely to be unchanged from 2008. The shares fell 20 cents to NZ$5.15 yesterday.

Pumpkin Patch (PPL): The children’s clothing chain yesterday posted earnings from its Australasian businesses that exceeded some analysts’ estimates. “Everybody was expecting earnings to be down and the result was better than people had been expecting it might be,” said Stephen Walker, head of asset allocation at Goldman Sachs JBWere. Australian EBIT fell 5.4%to NZ$19 million and in New Zealand earnings fell 12% to NZ$6.1 million. The shares
jumped 14% to 95 cents yesterday.

Wellington Drive Technologies (WDR): The engineering firm posted a full-year loss of NZ$9 million, which was NZ$1.9 million better than its prospectus forecast, mainly reflecting a foreign exchange gain. It said growth in sales “will be accompanied by improved gross margins from the second half of 2009 and into 2010” allowing the company to trade profitably in 2010. WDT said it has received approaches from a potential corporate shareholder and is still pursuing the prospect of a cornerstone shareholder. The shares fell 1% to 10 cents yesterday.



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