MIDDAY UPDATE: Fletcher sells galvanising steel business

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 4 (BusinessDesk) - Fletcher Building will sell its CSP Coating galvanising steel business to the Hamilton-based Perry Group for an undisclosed amount as it looks to trim back under-performing divisions.

Perry Metal Protection, a subsidiary of the family-owned group, has applied to the Commerce Commission to buy the Fletcher plants in Auckland and Christchurch, and will sell an unnamed unit to stop it from gaining a monopoly in the South Island.

Fletcher's underperforming steel business has indicated it "will import certain pre-galvanised products that are currently galvanised at CSP," the application said. Local galvanisers compete indirectly with those imported products, according to the application.

The construction company carved up its steel business last year, adding its long steel and distribution units, which include CSP, with its concrete unit to create a new infrastructure segment, and shifting its coated steel business under the building products division.

Fletcher's shares rose 0.5 percent to $8.50 in morning trading.

Kiwi falls below 83 US cts as Fed looks for an end to printing money

The New Zealand dollar fell after minutes from the US Federal Reserve's December monetary policy review showed some members want to stop printing money this year.

The kiwi fell to 82.70 US cents at midday in Wellington from 82.89 cents at 8am and 83.21 cents yesterday.

The Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes show some officials “thought that it would probably be appropriate to slow or to stop purchases well before the end of 2013.”

NZ shares edge up in early trading

Shares on New Zealand's stock market edged higher in early trading, bucking a sell-off on Wall Street after investors got nervous about the Federal Reserve's stance on quantitative easing.

The benchmark NZX 50 index rose 6.47 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4088.83 as at midday, led by the country's biggest lender and its newest bank. Dual-listed Australia & New Zealand Banking Group gained 1.6 percent to $32, and Heartland New Zealand advanced 1.5 percent to 69 cents.

Mining company OceanaGold was the biggest decliner, falling 1.1 percent to $3.46.



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