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Australian Financial Review : October 17th 2006
FBA 015 Issued in Australia by UBS AG ABN 47 088 129 613 (AFSL* No. 231087), UBS Securities Australia Ltd ABN 62 008 586 481 (AFSL* No. 231098), UBS Wealth Management Australia Ltd ABN 50 005 311 937 (AFSL* No. 231127), UBS Cash Management Australia Limited ABN 80 005 926 063 and UBS Global Asset Management (Australia) Ltd ABN 31 003 146 290 (AFSL* No. 222605). © UBS 2006. All rights reserved. UBS7271/LEADERS/28X5/AFR For the past four years we have been providing high achieving public school students with valuable insights for their future. The UBS Finance Academy, UBS Young Women's Leadership Academy and the newly created UBS Indigenous Academy will positively affect the lives of young people, providing them with guidance, opportunities and the inspiration they'll need to succeed. As one of the world's leading financial institutions, we know that talent must be nurtured to reach its potential; that opportunities must be provided for careers to prosper; that tomorrow's leaders aren't simply born but are developed. www.ubs.com You&Us Developing tomorrow's leaders today The Australian Financial Review www.afr.com Tuesday 17 October 2006 15 COMPANIES Amcor still a target despite Carter Holt's asset play Tracy Lee KEY POINTS Carter Holt Harvey offers $666m for International Paper businesses. Even so, some analysts believe a bid for Amcor is not ruled out. Speculation packaging giant Amcor might be scooped up by pulp and paper producer Carter Holt Harvey has been hosed down following revelations Carter Holt is negotiat- ing to buy International Paper's beverage packaging businesses. New Zealand-based Carter Holt is understood to have offered between $US500 million ($666 mil- lion) and $US750 million for the assets, which include a paper mill in Arkansas and 15 beverage packag- ing plants in Canada, China, Latin America, the Middle East, South Korea and Taiwan. The suite of assets is understood to produce annual sales of approxi- mately $US900 million. The paper mill at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, is said to satisfy nearly a quarter of the world's demand for paperboard used in making milk and juice cartons. Carter Holt did not rule out the acquisitions but declined to make any further comment. Shares in Melbourne-based Amcor have risen sharply on takeover talk, gaining more than 12 per cent over the past month. But yesterday, Amcor shares fell 12¢ to $7.35. International Paper is cleaning up its portfolio of businesses and has earmarked up to $US10 million in assets that it plans to divest. As part of that strategy, it sold its 51 per cent stake in Carter Holt last year. ABN Amro deputy head of research Richard Johnson said even if Carter Holt did decide to buy the mill and International Paper's pack- aging assets, it could still have a crack at Amcor. ''Yes, it does take the heat out of [Amcor's] shares, but I don't think it necessarily rules out a deal, it just makes it financially harder for Carter Holt Harvey,'' he said. Analysts previously flagged there were significant synergies that could be achieved from a merger of Amcor and Carter Holt Harvey's Australian and NZ corrugated box assets. Amcor also has a large presence in the drink can packaging sector that could complement the assets it buys from International Paper. Mr Johnson noted that Carter Holt could use some of the proceeds from the sale of its forestry assets to fund the deal. Carter Holt, which was privatised by New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, late last year sold most of its NZ forestry assets to Hancock Natural Resource Group yesterday. Hancock did not disclose the price it paid for the assets but it is believed the forests, in Northland, Auckland, Central North Island, Hawke's Bay and Nelson, are worth about $1.3 billion. The other bidders, which Hancock beat to seize the forestry assets, are understood to have been Global Forest Partners and Babcock & Brown. Betcorp on a loser in US Online gambling company Betcorp said it was in talks with groups interested in acquiring its US operations. Betcorp, unlike similar companies in the UK, was unable to sell any of its US assets before the enactment of US laws banning internet gambling. Tracy Lee Coal seam reserves increase Arrow Energy has increased its proved and probable reserves of coal seam methane by 13 per cent to 498 petajoules. The company, formed from the merger earlier this year of Arrow with CH4 Gas, is exploring for another 700 petajoules of gas on its leases in the Bowen and Surat basins in Queensland. Stephen Wisenthal Recycler expands into Germany Metal recycler Sims Group has expanded its recycling solution division through the acquisition of Germany's Metall + Recycling for an undisclosed sum. The division focuses on recycling complex items such as fridges and electronics that are subsidised by governments. Jo Clarke US ban catches online gamblers Online gaming companies Global Approach and Lasseters said a new law in the US banning internet gambling will hit earnings. Global said it planned to turn its attention to Europe and Asia, while Lasseters said it would have to change its operations significantly. AAP Visy packs a lighter litre Paper recycler Visy has signed a licensing and technology agreement with Graham Packaging to improve its food and beverage plastics packaging technology. Visy said the new technology would produce lighter packaging that prolonged the shelf life of dairy products. Tracy Lee Ausmelt's $27m deal Smelter manufacturer Ausmelt expects to generate $27 million in revenue from a two-year agreement to process zinc-bearing primary leach residue from Zinifex's operations in Risdon, Tasmania. Tracy Lee Wesfarmers buys up OAMPS Wesfarmers has increased its holding in insurance broker OAMPS to 36.5 per cent. Wesfarmers made a $700 million offer for OAMPS in September at $4.50 a share cash. OAMPS directors are recommending the offer. Marsha Jacobs Ausenco finalises Zambian project Ausenco has formalised its contract in a joint venture with Bateman Engineering for engineering, procurement and construction work on the biggest copper project in Africa, Equinox Minerals' Lumwana project in Zambia. Ausenco said the contract was worth $US407.6 million ($543.1 million). Staff reporter Macmahon wins Argyle works Macmahon Holdings has won preferred contractor status for the second phase of Rio Tinto subsidiary Argyle Diamonds' underground development works at its diamond mine in Western Australia. Macmahon said the project was the largest current underground mine development in Australia. Staff reporter Directors' $33.9m windfall Cudeco's shareholders yesterday approved 50¢ options for the copper explorer's three executive directors. This hands them an immediate paper profit of $33.9 million at yesterday's closing price of $3.89 Stephen Wisenthal