Oceania

Central banks world-wide delivered sweeping interest rate cuts Thursday, even as the continuing turmoil in credit markets means cuts in rates are losing their power to curtail an accelerating global slowdown, The Wall Street Journal reported. Major European central banks, including the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and Sweden's Riksbank joined the central banks of New Zealand and Indonesia in making deep rate cuts. The goal: to stave off deep and painful slowdowns in the wake of financial market turmoil that has squeezed lending globally.
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An investor group is going to court to try to delay Tuesday's vote on a restructuring proposal for failed New Zealand finance company Hanover, The National Business Review reported today. The group has also asked the Minister of Commerce to put Hanover into statutory management. The group expects a hearing to be held at the High Court in Auckland on Monday. Hanover Finance is aiming to repay nearly 16,400 secured deposit investors their principal of more than $550 million within five years, under the debt restructure proposal.
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U.K. fund manager New Star Asset Management Group's shares plummeted 43% Monday after the company disclosed that it is holding talks with its bank lenders, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The discussions likely revolve around trying to organize a debt-for-equity swap to help stabilize the highly leveraged firm, a person familiar with the matter said. The company sought to have trading of its shares temporarily suspended Monday as it delivered the potentially gloomy news, but U.K. regulators denied the request.
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Centro Properties Group, the owner of 794 shopping malls in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, is continuing talks with lenders to extend more than $4.5 billion of borrowings by Dec. 15 after failing to raise new capital, Bloomberg reported. The real estate investment trust may have to go into receivership unless creditors including Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd. agree to roll over loans, Melbourne-based Centro said today in a statement.
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Australian parliament opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is pushing for tax reform and a review of bankruptcy laws for big companies to protect jobs amid the global financial crisis, condemning the government's own response as making the situation worse, The Australian reported today. Turnbull accused the prime minister of a "financial blunder of epic proportions" over the unlimited bank guarantee and warned he would not offer him a "leave pass" to drive the federal budget into deficit.
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Failed New Zealand finance company Hanover's secured investors could be repaid little more than half their capital under a five-year moratorium proposal put forward by the company yesterday, according to two independent reports, The Dominion Post reported today. The company's expectations to repay secured investors all their principal were too optimistic and there was a risk that lower-ranked investors, facing the prospect of losing all their money, could instead try to force the company into liquidation, independent evaluation reports show.
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Australia's second largest childcare group, CFK Childcare, went into receivership on Wednesday, a day after its board placed the company in voluntary administration due to a failed asset sell-off to ABC Learning Centres Ltd., The Age reported today. CFK's board appointed BDO Kendalls as voluntary administrators on Tuesday and revealed the company was losing more than $400,000 a month.
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Investors in stricken finance company Dorchester Pacific will have to wait a little longer for details of management's restructuring plan, which the company yesterday said would see them get all their money back over a three-year period, the New Zealand Herald reported today. A day after St Laurence Finance and Investments, with whom Dorchester's fate is entwined, announced details of its own imminent restructuring proposal, Dorchester's management said their plan was "now well advanced".
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National Australia Bank Ltd. said it has appointed a receiver to Allco Finance Group Ltd. unit Rubicon Holdings Australia, which manages three listed trusts, following Allco's collapse last week, the Wall Street Journal Asia reported today. NAB said it has appointed accounting and services firm Deloitte to oversee Rubicon Holdings, and that it would take a provision for its 20 million Australian dollar (US$13.3 million) exposure to the Allco unit.
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Groups related to collapsed Allco Finance Group warned today the failure of Allco may have triggered defaults on debt facilities, The Australian reported today. Real estate managers Rubicon Japan Trust, Rubicon America Trust and Rubicon Europe Trust Group said they were in talks with various lenders about the implications of Allco Finance's situation. All three entities were suspended from trade. Rubicon America Trust said that defaults on two debt facilities may have been triggered by Allco Finance's collapse, although it was not clear in the documentation for the loans.
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