Mid Session Report (13:00 AEST)
Sellers have been largely unopposed in the first part of the session on Monday. Almost every sector measured by the ASX has been in retreat in the absence of any strong lead from Wall St. Mining stocks were generally lower although the influences from underlying prices weren't significant. Base metal prices ended mostly lower, but nickel and zinc - both metals subject to supply-side issues currently - bucked the trend and finished higher. Precious metals were mixed, while global crude oil benchmarks finished broadly unchanged despite a volatile session as markets continued to focus on instability in Iraq. Iron ore slipped 0.4% to USD94.90/t.
Goodman Fielder shares have been placed in a trading halt. The market is waiting to see whether the $1.4 billion takeover offer goes ahead. Goodman, which makes and sells bread, biscuits, sauces, spreads and oils, provided no further information ahead of an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday. Shares in the takeover target last traded at 68 cents. In May, the board of Goodman Fielder agreed to a $1.37 billion takeover bid by Singapore-based Agribusiness Wilmar International and Hong Kong-listed investment firm First Pacific. Wilmar, the world´s biggest palm oil processor, and First Pacific will pay 70 Australian cents a share to take over the Australasian food ingredients maker, sweetening an earlier bid of 65 cents a share. Wilmar and First Pacific are understood to have been carrying out due diligence on Goodman. Goodman has been cost cutting, restructuring and divesting over the past three years, to focus on its core brands, which include Vogel´s bread and Meadowlea butter and margarine, and reduce debt.
Stockland (SGP) announced that it had purchased the Brownes Dairy head office processing and distribution centre in Perth for $53.5m in an effort to grow its logistics and business parks portfolio. SGP purchased the 12 hectares located in Balcatta, 12km north of Perth's central business district. The land is expected to generate an initial funds from operations (FFO) yield of 7.5% and underlying profit of 9.7% per year, adding to industrial acquisitions Stockland has made during the current financial year in St Marys and Ingleburn in Sydney. SGP shares were at $3.91 , down 2.5 cents or 0.63 per cent
South African retail giant Woolworths has said that it will not increase the current offers it has on the table for David Jones (DJS) and Country Road (CTY), describing them as "best and final". David Jones snubbed a merger with fellow retailer Myer (MYR) back in April in favour of a $4 cash per share offer from Woolworths, which has since received approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Woolworths also ruled out any increase of its current $17 per share takeover proposal for clothing brand Country Road, which is dependant on the successful takeover of David Jones and FIRB approval.
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