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Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has reached agreement with respect to a planned farm-in arrangement with Salamander Energy plc (LON:SMDR) to take interests in a portfolio of five exploration blocks operated by Salamander across Northeast Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Salamander will also have the option to acquire an interest in one exploration block currently operated by Origin in South East Asia.
Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has reached agreement with respect to a planned farm-in arrangement with Salamander Energy plc (LON:SMDR) to take interests in a portfolio of five exploration blocks operated by Salamander across Northeast Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Salamander will also have the option to acquire an interest in one exploration block currently operated by Origin in South East Asia.
Sydney, Dec 4, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - US shares fell on Thursday as the services sector index declined unexpectedly in November. The contraction also hurt sentiment ahead of the release of unemployment figure.

Australian market opened lower on Friday. Yesterday the local market closed slightly higher in a quiet trading session after flat leads from overseas. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended up 12.2 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 4774.6, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 12.6 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4789.3.

The Australian dollar was little changed at opening today after the mixed data in the US. At 7am AEDT, the Australian dollar was trading at 92.75 US cents, down from Thursday's close of 92.80.

Key Economic Facts and Figures

The Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed that Australian retail sales remained strong despite higher interest rates and fading government stimulus. Retail sales rose a higher-than-expected 0.3 per cent to A$19.75 billion in October from September. The rise offset a 0.2 per cent fall in September.

M&A News

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has reached agreement with respect to a planned farm-in arrangement with Salamander Energy plc (LON:SMDR) to take interests in a portfolio of five exploration blocks operated by Salamander across Northeast Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Salamander will also have the option to acquire an interest in one exploration block currently operated by Origin in South East Asia.

Dragon Energy Ltd (ASX:DLE) has acquired three iron ore projects in Western Australia from Polaris Metals NL (ASX:POL). The projects comprise seven tenements totalling 596 sq km and have "sound potential" to host large-scale hematite and magnetite iron ore deposits.

Agricultural chemicals supplier Nufarm Ltd (ASX:NUF) said it was in continuing takeover talks with Chinese state-owned Sinochem Corp and shareholders should not accept any takeover bid below A$13 a share. Nufarm also said yesterday its profit for the first half of its fiscal year will be significantly lower than the previous corresponding period.

Important Corporate News

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) has announced a rise in interest rates across its standard variable mortgage by 25 basis points, matching the Reserve Bank of Australia's increase in official rates. NAB's new standard variable rate will be 6.49 per cent per annum. NAB group executive of Personal Banking Lisa Gray urged Westpac (ASX:WBC) customers to take a fresh look at NAB, while its rival Westpac has raised its mortgage rate by 45 basis points.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has put a freeze on the price of accessing Telstra's (ASX:TLS) copper access network. As a result, Telstra's competitors will not face higher charges they pay Telstra for the access to provide fixed voice and broadband services. The ACCC said it would roll the prices over to December 31, 2010, despite unveiling a proposed new pricing model in August.

Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas (PNG LNG) Project participants, including ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM)(41.5%), Oil Search (ASX:OSH)(34%), Santos (ASX:STO)(17.7%), Nippon Oil (TYO:5001)(5.4%), Mineral Resources Development Company (1.2%) and Petromin PNG Holdings (0.2%), have finalised a binding sale and purchase agreement with a subsidiary of China's Sinopec (SHA:600028)(HKG:0386), for the long-term sale and purchase of liquefied gas (LNG) totalling approximately 2 million tonnes per annum. Under the agreement, the PNG LNG Project will supply LNG to Sinopec for a period of 20 years.

Lend Lease (ASX:LLC) confirmed it is in the competitive process for the acquisition of the ING Retail Property Fund in response to the speculation about its bidding of the Fund. But Lend Lease also said its involvement may or may not lead to a transaction.

Contact

Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344
Email: michelle.liang@abnnewswire.net


Related Companies

Westpac Banking Corp        
Telstra Corporation Limited.         
Santos Limited         
Salamander Energy Plc      
Polaris Metals NL       
Origin Energy Limited             
Oil Search Limited        
Nufarm Limited        
Nippon Oil Corporation        
National Australia Bank Limited         
Lendlease Group          
Exxon Mobil Corporation       
Dragon Energy Ltd          
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC)       

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