Oceania

Central bankers are starting to see promising results from one of the recent additions to their monetary policy toolbox, Bloomberg News reported. Lending curbs to stem financial risk -- so-called macroprudential limits -- have helped slow risky borrowing and temper property price bubbles in countries from New Zealand to Canada, a host of financial stability reports showed this week. While there hasn’t been uniform success -- Hong Kong’s housing market shows no signs of cooling -- it’s given central banks some breathing space to be more gradual in tightening monetary policy.
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Australian coal rail operator Aurizon Holdings said on Monday it was in talks to buy the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET), which urgently needs to restructure $3 billion in debt, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. A purchase would mark a change in strategy under new Chief Executive Andrew Harding for Australia's largest rail freight operator, which runs nearly 2,700 kms (1,680 miles) of rail lines transporting millions of tonnes of coal a year.
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Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. full-year earnings rose 18 percent on growth in its domestic banking businesses and lower bad debts, even as margins narrowed, Bloomberg News reported. Unaudited cash profit, which excludes one-time items, rose to A$6.94 billion ($5.3 billion) in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from A$5.9 billion a year earlier, the Melbourne-based bank said in a statement Thursday. That compares with the A$6.97 billion median estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
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Australia’s central bank has warned that household borrowing is a key risk to the country’s financial system as higher interest rates could see households struggle to repay their debt, the Financial Times reported. “Higher interest rates, or falls in income, could see some highly indebted households struggle to service their debt and so curtail their spending,” the RBA said in its latest Financial Stability Review. Low interest rates and weak wage growth have seen debt levels relative to income edge higher, the central bank said.
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Arup, the London-based global engineering company, is being sued in Australia for $2bn by the receivers of a Brisbane toll road that failed because its traffic forecasts proved optimistic, the Financial Times reported. BrisConnections, the company that built a toll road linking Brisbane’s central business district with its airport — which was finished in 2012 — went into administration the following year with debts worth more than $3bn.
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The New Zealand arm of British fashion retailer Topshop said on Thursday that it had been placed in receivership, just two years after the brand arrived in the country, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Top Retail Limited, which owns the licence to operate Topshop in New Zealand, said in an emailed statement that its two stores would stay open until a final decision was made on their ownership. Like its Australian counterpart, the chain has struggled amid increased competition and posted losses, its receiver firm McGrathNicol said in a statement.
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U.S. media company CBS Corp. plans to acquire Australian broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd., beating out a bid from Australian media moguls Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch for the company after it went into receivership, The Wall Street Journal reported. CBS’s bid was favored by receivers for Ten Network, one of Australia’s three main broadcasters, over a proposal from Messrs. Gordon and Murdoch, who wanted to run the broadcaster as a joint venture, people familiar with the deal said. Mr.
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Paladin Energy, operators of Kayelekela Uranaium Mine in Karonga Malawi and Langer Heinrich in Namibia has filed for insolvency at the Australian high court after the company failed to pay a debt of USD277 million to a France based company called Electricite de France, The Southern Times reported. Kayelekera Uranium Mine in northern Malawi was the country’s only large-scale mining operation. But for more than five years, the mine is not operating and is under ‘care and maintenance’ because of global low uranium prices.
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Upmarket grocery chain Nosh has been placed in receivership, Companies Office records show. Damien Grant was appointed as a receiver on Friday. Before the receivership, staff were waiting to be paid wages and numerous creditors had ceased supplying the stores, The New Zealand Herald reported. Grant said it would be "very difficult" to get the stores back into trading. He was unable to provide detail on whether staff, creditors and landlords will be paid, saying he had yet to conduct a stocktake of the business.
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The future of Australia’s Ten Network is in doubt after big shareholders, including Lachlan Murdoch, son of News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, decided not to back a financial restructuring of the struggling broadcaster, the Financial Times reported. Financial advisers to Illyria Limited, an investment vehicle linked to Lachlan Murdoch that owns 7.7 per cent of Ten, told the company on Tuesday that Illyria would not extend or increase its support for the broadcaster’s credit facility.
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