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Sydney, Aug 26, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Overnight Wall Street was up on economic data, positive earnings and the nomination of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke to serve a second term. The Conference Board's August index of consumer confidence rose for a second month, exceeding economists' forecast.

The Australian market yesterday fell as investors locked in profits from the previous sharp rally. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 20.3 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 4405.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 16.7 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4417.5 points.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

On Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release construction work done data for the June quarter. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations publishes its job vacancy report.

M&A News

Sylvania Resources Limited (ASX:SLV) said Federal Court has approve its application to compulsorily acquire the remaining shares in Great Australian Resources Limited (ASX:GAU). Sylvania Resources said it had a relevant interest in 89.82% of the issued shares in Great Australian Resources as at Aug. 11.

Important Corporate News

Shopping centres operator Westfield Group (ASX:WDC) has reported a loss of A$708 million for the six months ended June 30, compared to a profit of A$1.28 million in the previous corresponding period in 2008. The result is largely due to its asset devaluations of A$2.9 billion. Westfield said assuming no material change in economic conditions or currency exchange rates, its guidance for calendar 2009 remains unchanged.

Asciano Group (ASX:AIO) posted a net profit of A$71.8 million for 2008/09, down 63.8 per cent on the prior year. Asciano says it will continue to take a prudent approach and plans for a continued difficult operating environment in 2009/10.

Toll road operator Transurban (ASX:TCL) posted a net loss of A$24.6 million for the year to June 30, compared with a loss of A$109.7 million last year. The group said its toll roads showed resilient traffic numbers in the year delivering a rise on toll revenue, while cost reductions had improved its balance sheet.

Lihir Gold (ASX:LGL) has made a $US301 million loss in the first half of fiscal 2009, down 924 per cent from $US36.5 million in the first-half of fiscal 2008. Lihir maintained its production guidance for the full year at one to 1.2 million ounces of gold.

Seven Network Ltd (ASX:SEV) said net profit in the year to June 30 after one-off items fell to A$12.5 million from A$142 million a year earlier after it wrote down the value of some media investments. Analysts say Seven is in a strong financial position for a potential acquisition, with net cash of almost A$1.4 billion.

Transfield Group (ASX:TSE) reported a net loss of A$55 million for the year to June 30 2009, compared with a profit of A$82.2 million in 2008. The company is confident it will continue to expand its business through concentrating on market segments and geographies with good growth opportunities and continuing strong cash management.

Kagara Ltd (ASX:KZL) reported a net loss of A$94 million for the year to June 30 2009, compared with a profit of A$65 million in 2008. The significant falls in base metal prices, a high level of debt and a record wet season had a major impact on profitability and cash flows during the year.

Goodman Fielder (ASX:GFF) has posted a net profit of A$177.1 million for the year ended June 30, up from A$27.7 million in the prior corresponding period. Goodman Fielder said it expects to see efficiency gains resulting from its capital expenditure program and plant rationalisations begin to flow through, underpinned by its strengthened focus on branded everyday foods.

Consolidated Media Holdings (ASX:CMJ) has sold its 27 per cent shareholding in listed on-line job company SEEK (ASX:SEK) to institutional investors for A$5.05 a share, which will deliver it gross proceeds of $440.6 million by September 1.

Pacific Brands (ASX:PBG) reported a net loss of A$234.5 million for the year ended June 30, compared with a profit of A$116.6m the year before. It booked A$380.6 million of expenses as it reassessed the value of brands, plants, equipment, land, buildings and inventory, among other things.

Sino Gold Mining Ltd (ASX:SGX) delivered a first half net profit of A$12.6 million, up from a A$2.7 million loss for the same period a year earlier. Sino Gold has been placed in trading halt pending the possible release of an announcement in respect to a potential change-of-control transaction affecting the company.


Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344

Related Companies

Westfield Group        
Transurban Group        
Sylvania Platinum Limited             
Sino Gold Limited       
Seven Network Limited         
SEEK Limited          
Pacific Brands Limited          
Lihir Gold Limited         
Kagara Limited       
Great Australian Resources Limited        
Goodman Fielder Limited.        
Consolidated Media Holdings Limited         
Broadspectrum Ltd        
Asciano Group          

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