MIDDAY UPDATE: Yellow Pages writes off goodwill

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Directories company Yellow Pages has written of the value of its goodwill completely, tipping its profitable trading operation into the red.

Holding company NZ Directories Holdings narrowed its net loss to $78 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $353 million in a five-month trading period a year earlier, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.

A $112.9 million impairment charge on the value of its brand, goodwill and customer relationships unwound its trading profit of $64.3 million on revenue of $209.7 million. The company had made a trading loss of $3.9 million on sales of $111.4 million in the shortened 2011 period.

Yellow Pages booked a $55.4 million charge on its goodwill, adding to the $329.3 million impairment it took in 2011, completely wiping out that intangible asset.

In 2010, Yellow Pages’ lenders took control after its private equity owners saddled it with too much debt after buying the business from Telecom three years earlier for $2.24 billion in a leveraged buy-out. The company was forced to book a $1.6 billion charge to its goodwill and brand name in a restructuring agreement to hand it over to the banks that valued the company at $750 million.

NZOG gets busier in Taranaki with stakes in three more offshore permits

New Zealand Oil & Gas has bought into three permits of the coast of Taranaki for US$12.5 million plus a share of the seismic costs, building its exposure in the resources-rich region.

“These new acquisitions sit well within NZOG’s New Zealand exploration portfolio, as they build on the knowledge base developed from NZOG’s Taranaki history and provide exposure to the developing western fairway,” chief executive Andrew Knight said in the statement.

The local exploration company bought the stakes from ASX-listed Octanex, which will retain interests into the permits.

Pharmacybrands shares rally on first-half profit bump

Shares in Pharmacybrands rose 3.4 percent to $1.22 after the retail pharmacy and medical centre boosted first-half profit 52 percent, bolstered by its acquisitions in 2011.

Net profit rose to $6.2 million, or 5.11 cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $4.1 million, or 3.85 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. The 2011 earnings were eroded by a $1.1 million charge from write-downs and acquisition costs, it said. Sales inched up 0.1 percent to $54.2 million.

Auckland Airport mulls $100mln bond offer

Auckland International Airport is testing the waters for another bond offer, three weeks after a tranche of its listed debt was repaid.

The airport is seeking expressions of interest from the public for a seven-year $100 million unsecured, unsubordinated bond offer, it said. Full details of the offer will be released next week.

NZ dollar falls as traders weigh costs of US fiscal cliff impasse

The New Zealand dollar fell as investors shifted their focus back to the US, and the ability of policymakers to bridge their political divide and avert US$607 billion of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts from next year.

The kiwi fell to 82.09 US cents as at midday in Wellington from 82.25 cents yesterday.

Traders have become more pessimistic about legislators’ ability to cut a deal and avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Two-thirds of Americans surveyed in a CNN poll fear the US will face severe economic difficulties if politicians in Washington can’t resolve their differences before the cuts and new taxes kick in on Jan. 1.



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