Rates round up: Dec 5

F&P Finance earnings down

Monday, December 5th 2011, 10:34AM

by Niko Kloeten

Fisher & Paykel Finance has reported a steady half-year result despite 'softer" New Zealand retail conditions.

It has reported operating earnings before tax of $12.5 million for the six months to September 30, compared to $18.9 million for the same period last year.

The result includes a one-off adjustment related to litigation costs of $5.9 million before tax.

On a normalised basis F&P Finance reported operating earnings before interest and tax of $18.4 million compared to $18.9 million last year. The result reflects steady net income and lower bad debts offset by higher funding and operating costs.

"In respect of litigation costs, a case was recently heard in the High Court at Auckland, New Zealand and a judgement on the issue is expected before 31 December 2011," according to a stock exchange announcement by Fisher & Paykel Appliances. 

"There are complex legal issues and a range of possible outcomes. Accordingly, the Directors' considered it is now prudent to make a provision given this uncertainty. This amount, together with legal costs incurred, has been reported as litigation costs in the Interim Financial Statement."

Equitable Mortgages depositors running out of time

Depositors of Equitable Mortgages (in receivership) have until the end of the year to make a claim for repayment under the Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Equitable Mortgages was placed into receivership on November 26 last year, triggering the Crown guarantee.

The Treasury's director, commercial transactions, Brian McCulloch, said that so far the Crown has paid more than $170 million to more than 3,700 Equitable Mortgages depositors, representing about 97% of eligible depositors and amounts owing.

"The Scheme provided for a deadline on claims in order to limit ongoing liabilities to taxpayers. Public notices are being published in newspapers and reminder letters are being sent to the last known addresses of depositors who haven't already lodged a claim," Dr McCulloch said.

He said that claims from Equitable Mortgages depositors made after 31 December 2011 would not be considered for repayment and would instead be referred to the Equitable Mortgages receiver.

McDouall re-elected to Allied Farmers board

Investment banker Andrew McDouall has been re-elected as a director of Allied Farmers, which is struggling from the collapse of its subsidiary Allied Nationwide Finance.

McDouall has been deemed an independent director despite his firm McDouall Stuart having done consultancy work for Allied including on a share placement and a rights issue that was cancelled because of Allied Nationwide's receivership.

At the Allied Farmers annual meeting last week, McDouall received 74% support from those who voted.

Holders of 5.6 million shares voted to re-elect McDouall while 2 million (26%) were against and holders of 6.3 million shares abstained.

Niko Kloeten can be contacted at niko@goodreturns.co.nz

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