Bloomberg News

Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Billabong, BlueScope, Oz Minerals, Seven

February 20, 2012

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 1.4 percent to 4,256.10 at the close of trading in Sydney, its biggest increase in a month. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.8 percent to 3,315.57 in Wellington.

The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. (BEN AU) gained 1.5 percent to A$8.14. The regional bank said first-half profit tumbled 67 percent as the profitability of its mortgage lending was squeezed by rising funding costs and waning home-loan demand.

Billabong International Ltd. (BBG AU) rose 8 percent to A$2.83 after Australia’s largest surfwear company said it will consider a A$3 per share takeover proposal from buyout firm TPG Capital after the bid was revised to allow for an asset sale.

BlueScope Steel Ltd. (BSL AU) dropped 2.7 percent to 36.5 Australian cents. The nation’s largest steelmaker posted a wider loss in the first half on lower production, restructuring costs and impairment charges related to the closing of a plant. The net loss was A$530 million ($571 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31 compared with A$55 million a year earlier, the Melbourne-based company said in a statement today.

Oz Minerals Ltd. (OZL AU) advanced 1.3 percent to A$10.91 after Australia’s third-biggest copper producer said it will sell its Cambodian assets to Renaissance Minerals Ltd. for A$17.8 million, with possible future payments of a further A$22.5 million.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) gained 2.2 percent to A$68.04 after the world’s second-biggest iron-ore exporter said it will spend $518 million on the first driverless long-distance trains to haul the commodity from its Western Australian mines to ports, boosting efficiency.

Seven Group Holdings Ltd. (SVW AU) rose 5.7 percent to A$8.56 after the company agreed to sell 4G network operator Vividwireless to Optus, a unit of Singapore Telecom Ltd., for A$230 million, subject to approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

--Editor: John McCluskey

To contact the reporter for this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net


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