Archive for June, 2008

Republic to merge with Allied Waste (Reuters)

Monday, June 23rd, 2008 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) -
Republic Services Inc (RSG.N) said on
Monday it plans to merge with Allied Waste Industries Inc
(AW.N) creating a $12 billion waste and environmental services
company.

Allied shareholders will receive 0.45 shares of Republic
common stock for each Allied share. Based on Friday's close,
that amounts to $14.04 a share, a 3.5 percent premium.

The premium is 17 percent over the average closing price of
Allied's stock for the 30 days previous to Thursday, the
companies said.

Republic will issue about 198 million shares to Allied
shareholders, representing about 52 percent ownership of the
combined company.

The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter
of 2008, generate about $150 million in net annual synergies
and add to Republic's earnings per share in the first year
following completion of the merger.

(Reporting by Christopher Kaufman; Editing by Derek Caney)

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China vows new action to stabilise markets, says official (AFP)

Monday, June 23rd, 2008 | Finance News

SHANGHAI (AFP) -
China's securities regulator has said it will do whatever is necessary to ensure the country's stock market stability and healthy development after recent jitters.

China Securities Regulatory Commission chairman Shang Fulin said officials will clamp down on anyone who spreads rumours that disrupt and destabilise the markets, according to a statement on the commission's website.

He made the comments after government attempts to tighten the money supply triggered two roller-coaster weeks on Chinese stock markets that left the key index hovering near a 16-month low.

"The market volatility increased and investors' confidence was battered by a complicated combination of internal and external factors," Shang said in the statement dated Sunday.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has shed more than half its value since peaking in October -- and more than a fifth this month alone.

"Ups and downs are inevitable in any market ... the basics for a healthy and sustainable stock market shall not be affected," he said.

The commission will balance share supply and demand and adjust the pace of financing to increase stability, Shang said, without elaborating.

The commission will increase transparency by publishing details of initial public offerings' lock-up periods -- the set time during which company employees and associates are not allowed to sell their shares, he said.

Markets continued to slide Monday despite Shang's remarks as dealers said investors were looking for concrete action, not talk.

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Costco plans Australia foray to challenge duopoly (Reuters)

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008 | Finance News

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -
Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) has
gained its first foothold in the Australian market in a bid to
shake up a dominant supermarket duopoly.

Costco, whose U.S. warehouses sell everything from
groceries to big-screen TVs, has secured a site for a
large-format store in the developing Docklands area in inner
city Melbourne, Costco's Australian country manager Patrick
Noone said.

"We just got the planning approval, it will be a 13,800
square meter store, similar in size to a North American-style
Costco store," Noone told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He said the Melbourne store, opening next year, would sell
a similarly wide range of goods, from food to diamond jewelry,
and talks with suppliers have already begun.

"We'll be stocking everything from cut meat, fresh food,
groceries, electronics, hardware and clothing. And jewelry,"
Noone said.

With its slim margins and low-cost structure, Costco has
the ability to aggressively challenge rival retailers on price,
analysts said. Customers pay an annual fee to shop at the
company's warehouse locations.

Costco is one of three foreign companies trying to break
into the Australian grocery sector, and Noone said he has plans
for stores in most major cities given the lack of competition.

Australia's grocery sector is dominated by Woolworths Ltd's
(WOW.AX) 770 supermarkets and the Coles chain of 740 stores,
owned by Wesfarmers Ltd (WES.AX).

The two have an 80 percent market share, followed by
smaller player Metcash Ltd (MTS.AX) which supplies
independents.

They are facing a competition inquiry into grocery prices,
which has been told there is little difference between the
prices of most products on rival stores' supermarket shelves.

The inquiry was also told of barriers to new entrants.

The two other international grocers, privately owned Aldi
and Franklins, owned by South Africa's Pick 'n Pay Stores Ltd
(PIKJ.J), said they have been blocked from gaining access to
new shopping centre sites because of landlord agreements with
the big two players that discourage rivals from existing malls.

Costco has been looking for sites for more than a year.

Aldi has a 3 percent national market share, and a 7 percent
share in the eastern states where it operates, and aims to have
500 stores in the next five years.

Costco, which targets more upscale shoppers than larger
rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), will challenge not only the
grocers but hardware chain Bunnings, owned by Wesfarmers, and
electronics retailers such as Harvey Norman (HVN.AX).

(Editing by James Thornhill)

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