MIDDAY UPDATE: Kiwi Jennings sells out of Russian bank

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 21 (BusinessDesk) - Kiwi rich-lister Stephen Jennings has sold out of Renaissance Capital, 17 years after he founded the Russian investment bank that helped shape Russia's capital markets as the nation emerged from the Communist state in the early 1990s.

Jennings has sold his 50 percent stake to partner Mikhail Prokhorov after his requests for fresh capital were rebuffed by the Russian billionaire, according to Bloomberg. Prokhorov bought into the investment bank in 2008 for some US$500 million.

The New Zealander will continue to head the parent company, Renaissance Group.

Comvita first-half sales slide amid short honey supply

Comvita, which makes products based on the health benefits of Manuka honey, reported a 7.4 percent fall in first-half earnings, citing thin honey supplies that damped sales.

Profit fell to $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $2.58 million, or 8.92 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $45.4 million from $41.8 million.

The shares rose 2.7 percent to $3.80.

Fonterra rubbishes Indian buy-up claim

Dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group has rubbished a claim it's looking at spending some US$450 million to buy an Indian milk company.

The New Zealand cooperative scotched a Times of India report naming it with French food conglomerate Danone as vying for a controlling stake in Hyderabad-based Tirumala Milk Products, with a spokesman for the dairy exporter calling it “rubbish”.

Tirumala is the second biggest private supplier of liquid milk in India’s southern states, with turnover of 117.5 billion rupees, or NZ$2.61 billion at today’s exchange rate of 44.98 rupees per New Zealand dollar.

Dairy prices creep up in latest Fonterra auction

Prices of dairy products rose in Fonterra’s latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, the third straight gain on the sales platform, led by cheddar and anhydrous milk fat while milk powder prices fell.

The GDT-TWI Price Index rose 0.7 percent compared to the last sale two weeks ago. The average winning price gained to US$3,348 a metric tonne. Whole milk powder, the biggest product by volume, fell 1.9 percent to US$3,276 a tonne and skim milk powder dropped 1.7 percent to US$3,402 a tonne.

Summerset shares rally on faster construction rate

Shares in retirement village operator and developer Summerset Group climbed 3.1 percent to $2.03 after the company accelerated its forecast building rate and beefed up its banking facilities to pay for the expansion.

The Wellington-based company is now aiming to build 300 units a year by 2015 compared to a target in the prospectus for its initial public offering last year of 250 units a year by 2016.

Summerset has increased its banking facilities by $30 million to $180 million and said it doesn’t plan to tap shareholders for more funds to expand.



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