MIDDAY UPDATE: Hawaii's Matson buys Reef Shipping

By Paul McBeth

Dec. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Honolulu-based shipping company Matson has bought the failed Reef Shipping out of receivership in a bid to extend its reach into the South Pacific.

Matson will acquire four vessels and about 1,500 pieces of container equipment from Auckland-based Reef Shipping, which was placed in receivership last month, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to settle around year-end.

Matson currently has 17 vessels running between Hawaii, Guam and Micronesia as well as a service between China and Southern California. The acquisition will add routes between Auckland, Fiji, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Vanuatu, Tarawa and Majuro, it said.

Kiwi dollar gains as Congress sets a sitting session to avoid fiscal cliff

The New Zealand dollar gained in morning trading after American policymakers agreed to a sitting session on Sunday in a last-ditch bid to stop from falling over the US$600 billion fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts.

The House of Representatives majority leader and Republican Eric Cantor announced the session on Twitter, after Senate majority leader and Democrat Harry Reid said a cross-party deal was looking unlikely.

The currency traded at 82.07 US cents at midday in Wellington from 81.83 US cents at 8.30am and 81.89 cents yesterday.

APN shares fall to record low on NZX

Shares in APN News & Media, which publishes the NZ Herald newspaper, fell to a record-low in light trading this morning.

The stock sank 11 percent, or 4 cents, to 32 cents at midday in Wellington, the lowest level it's traded in New Zealand. Just 60,000 shares traded on the NZX.

Analysts give the stock an average rating of 'hold', based on 12 recommendations compiled by Reuters. The dual-listed shares closed at 25.5 Australian cents on the ASX yesterday, valuing the group at A$168.7 million.

Last month the media group said it plans to sell its South Island newspaper interests and Wellington-based community papers after a strategic review of its New Zealand media assets.

The company announced early this year that its New Zealand assets were all under review and flagged a masthead valuation writedown as journalism moves on-line, with consequent loss of advertising revenue for traditional media.



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