Oceania

Australia left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low Tuesday after the key unemployment metric edged higher, Bloomberg News reported. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe kept the cash rate at 1.5 percent, where it has stood since 2016, as expected by all economists. The jobless rate hit 5.6 percent in April, moving further away from the central bank’s estimated level of full employment. The global picture has also become more clouded amid an emerging-market rout, populism in Europe and U.S. trade tariffs.
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Bondholders led by BlackRock Inc have agreed to inject capital into Quintis Ltd and take it private, rescuing the Australian sandalwood firm after it collapsed in the wake of a short-seller attack, Reuters reported. Between A$125 million and A$175 million ($95 million to $132 million) in capital will be provided and the bondholders will acquire control of the company, administrator McGrathNicol said in a statement. “It is expected that the proposal will be supported by growers, employees and creditors whose rights and long term interests are protected,” the statement said.
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Santos Ltd. plunged the most since 2016 after rejecting Harbour Energy Ltd.’s $10.9 billion final offer and terminating talks, saying its proposal was too low and too risky, Bloomberg News reported. The Australian oil and gas producer said Tuesday its independent directors, managing director and chief executive officer unanimously rejected the proposal because it didn’t represent the full value of the company, as well as being too complex and high-risk. Oil prices and shares of its domestic peers have rallied 14 percent and 18 percent, respectively, since the initial proposal, Santos said.
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Toys ‘R’ Us in Australia has lost its battle for survival with directors today putting the 44-store chain into administration. The move threatens up to 2700 jobs, including 700 full-time positions. Insolvency firm McGrathNicol said partners Jason Preston, Keith Crawford and Barry Kogan were put into Toys ‘R’ Us (Australia) and Babies ‘R’ Us (Australia) after the withdrawal of the final bidder looking over the struggling businesses, The West Australian reported. The stores, including four in Perth.
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Australia’s unemployment rate edged up to a 9-month high in April, despite an increase in the number of full-time roles, the Financial Times reported. Australia’s unemployment rate rose to seasonally-adjusted 5.6 per cent in April from 5.5 per cent in the previous month, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That was above the 5.5 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll and broke from a four-month run at the same level.
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Australian fashion brand Metalicus has entered voluntary administration and will today begin a major sale across all of its outlets, SmartCompany.com.au reported. In an email to customers on Wednesday evening, the company acknowledged the “difficult period for our staff and customers”, as it explained plans to launch a sale event at all of its flagship stores, Myer concession outlets and online, starting Friday. Metalicus said the sale event will involve “significant savings on all pieces”.
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Sweeping reforms to insolvency laws and regulations are set to benefit distressed companies that are attempting to negotiate a sale and avert going into administration, The Australian Financial Review reported. Local lawyers are of the view that draft regulations released this week by Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer are largely positive for lenders, struggling companies and the restructuring industry.
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New Zealand’s High Court placed insurance firm CBL Insurance Ltd, the main subsidiary of CBL Corporation Ltd, in interim liquidation on Friday after a request from the country’s central bank, Reuters reported. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand regulates the country’s insurance sector and CBL disclosed earlier this month that the bank was reviewing the adequacy of the company’s reserves in its French construction insurance business.
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Australia’s largest sandalwood forest company, Quintis Ltd, has called in administrators after one of its bondholders forced the firm to pay out A$37 million ($30 million), a spokesman for the administrators, KordaMentha, said on Monday. Quintis has been trying to raise new financing over the past nine months, but none of the recapitalisation strategies, including a buyout by the company’s former managing director, have reached completion, Reuters reported. Bondholder Asia Pacific Investments DAC, connected with U.S.
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New Zealand has blocked HNA Group’s $460 million purchase of a vehicle finance firm owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in the latest in a series of setbacks around the world for the acquisitive Chinese conglomerate, Reuters reported. The proposed sale of UDC, New Zealand’s largest non-bank lender, was agreed with ANZ nearly a year ago and the bank had counted on the proceeds to boost its capital.
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