Fruit and vegetable grower Costa Group has been battered in morning trade, shedding as much as 40 per cent after it cutting its half year forecasts to flat. In a note to the market, Costa said subdued demand for its tomatoes, berries and avocadoes had hit sales and exacerbated previously flagged delays in its Mushroom development and costs of its Moroccan joint venture. It said trading conditions for January appeared to be slower than planned and that patchy demand had caused it to cut prices for a number of its product lines alongside an early finish to its citrus “off season”. Consequently, it cut its growth to flat, from earlier guidance of low double digits. CGC shares lost 33.38pc to $4.91, after hitting one and a half year lows of $4.40.
Devine Ltd (DVN):
Devine Group shareholders have approached Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for help as they step up their push for an investigation into attempted takeover moves by CIMIC, alleging the construction group's conduct has been "dishonest and illegal". Federal Liberal member Ben Morton has written to Mr Frydenberg on behalf of Devine shareholder Ben Pauley, who claims his shareholding has more than halved to about $16,000 since CIMIC's takeover attempt in 2015. About 30 Devine shareholders are understood to be pushing for an ASIC investigation amid concerns over the property group's losses since CIMIC, which is owned by Spanish construction group ACS, increased its stake in Devine to 59 per cent in 2015.
Lendlease Group (LLC):
Lendlease has won preferred bidder status for the £1.5 billion ($2.7 billion) overhaul of a major urban renewal site in the centre of Birmingham, Britain, adding to its rapidly growing European pipeline but also exposing itself to the whims of another Labour-led council the likes of which have previously cancelled contracts. The 15-year Birmingham Smithfield redevelopment will revamp an old market district in the middle of Britain's second-largest city into a mixed-use retail, leisure and residential precinct with more than 2000 homes. It's the second contract that Lendlease has won from Birmingham City Council in the past few months, having in November nabbed the £350 million contract to build the athlete's village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and then convert it into 1400 housing units.
Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (NEC):
Nine shares have jumped 5 per cent after the media group’s biggest shareholder, billionaire businessman Bruce Gordon, secured more shares, taking his stake to 13.36 per cent. Mr Gordon’s WIN Group has increased its stake to 8.88 per cent from 7.76 per cent, due to an existing swap agreement with Deutsche Bank, which effectively means the investment bank is holding shares in the company on his behalf, according to a filing with the ASX on Wednesday after the market’s close.
Noni B Ltd (NBL):
Womenswear retailer Noni B has reported a boost to total sales and strong Christmas trade after its acquisition of five brands from Specialty Fashion Group’s brands including Millers and Katies. In a note to the market yesterday morning, Noni B said it expected first half earnings at $29 million and that December trade had helped its like for like sales growth to improve to -3.1 per cent from previously announced -5pc. “As a result of improved trading, combined with achieving integration efficiencies from the acquisition of the Specialty Brands ahead of schedule, the Group expects underlying EBITDA for the FY2019 first half ended 30 December 2018 to be approximately $29 million, which is at the upper end of market consensus range of $25-30 million,” it said. The group reaffirmed its full year earnings target at around $45 million, subject to the success of key trading periods such as Mothers’ Day.
Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (SYD):
Sydney Airport Corporation is attempting to stop hotels within the airport precinct from using the valuable “Sydney Airport’’ moniker to attract tourists by claiming a trademark infringement that prohibits the use of the words. The publicly listed operation, which owns two hotels close to the domestic terminals, recently sent a legal demand to at least one hotel demanding it stop using the words “Sydney Airport” on its website, Google ads, Facebook page and all other marketing materials. Sydney Airport argues it is a brand name and product, whereas the hotel argues the use of the words “Sydney Airport” is required because it helps potential guests locate it. Up to eight hotels within the airport precinct could be drawn into the stoush.
Walker Corporation Ltd (WKC):
Lang Walker's Walker Corporation has been granted development approval for the final two commercial towers in the $3.2 billion Parramatta Square project in Sydney's west. To be known as 6 and 8 Parramatta, the two new office buildings will comprise 125,000 square metres of space, with an end value of $1.7 billion. Sydney Central City Planning Panel gave the green light to the developments just before Christmas. The latter of those buildings, Tower 8, was originally earmarked for residential development as the Aspire Tower with 700 apartments. The Walker Corporation's other buildings at Parramatta Square, Towers 3 and 4, are now being built and are fully pre-committed to tenants including the National Australia Bank.