Markets Live: Sigma rejection wipes $80m
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Markets Live: Sigma rejection wipes $80m

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That is all from us today. Thank you for your time and your comments.

We will be back tomorrow. Good night.

The S&P/ASX 200 closed 13.6 points lower at 6161.2 this afternoon, a one-day decline of 0.2 per cent. According to Bloomberg data 124 companies declined while only 68 increased in value. Eight remain unchanged. Trading volumes were heavy with 656 million shares trading.

The points were taken off by a 1.1 per cent drop in CSL to $196.34 as it went ex-dividend, a 1.3 per cent drop in Woodside to $34.51, and a 0.7 per cent decline in Westpac to $26.65. AMP fell by 2.6 per cent to $2.24.

Newcrest Mining helped add some points with a 3 per cent rise to $25.19, and Telstra rose by 1 per cent to $3.26. Saracen Mining had the biggest gain of the top 200 with a 5.2 per cent increase to $2.81. And Appen reversed yesterday's decline with a 5 per cent rise to $23.37.

The biggest decline was Sigma, which fell 12.3 per cent to 54 cents as nearly 16 million shares traded hands. The company ended the day with a market capitalisation of $566 million, $80 million less than yesterday.

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Yowie have responded to the unsolicited bid from Keybridge Capital. Shares in Yowie climbed 25 per cent today from 7 cents to 8.5 cents.

"Yowie shareholders are advised to TAKE NO ACTION in respect of the offer until the Yowie Board makes a formal recommendation."

Yowie's chairman Louis Carroll wrote to shareholders this afternoon calling the bid "highly opportunistic" and that 9.2 cents "fundamentally undervalues Yowie's business, brand, intellectual property and significant cash balance".

The S&P/ASX 200 is still in the red, down 22 points from the opening value to 6152.

The energy sector is the worst performer, down 1 per cent. Followed by healthcare and industrials.

Utilities, consumer discretionary and consumer stables have out-performed today.

I've been in touch with ANZ and NAB to find out if they will follow Westpac's decision to move dividends forward to June, which would give shareholders a one-off present of three dividends this current financial year. (These three banks have a October to September financial year and have traditionally declared their interim dividend in May and paid it in early July).

On Monday Westpac announced its interim dividend payment date will be brought forward by nine days to 24 June. A spokesman said the decision was made to "put the money into shareholders pockets a little bit earlier", which is very thoughtful of the $92 billion bank.

I've been in touch with ANZ and NAB to see if they will follow suit, which would be a major windfall for fund managers' full year returns as it gives them an extra dividend this current financial year. A NAB spokeswoman said if anything regarding dividends was to be announced, it would be through the ASX.

An ANZ spokesman said "dividends are a matter for out board and no decisions have been made at this point".

Huge blocks of Healthscope shares are chaning hands this afternoon suggesting institutional investors are switching positions, but the price is not changing. 4.2 million shares swapped at 2:36pm for $2.45 and 11.5 million shares swapped for $2.45 at 3:02pm. These block trades are internal crossings at the Morgan Stanley desk, with that broker accounting for the majority of today's trades.

There are only a handful of investors holding more than 11 million shares: AustralianSuper, Macquarie Group, Norges Bank, Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc, Canadian landlord NorthWest Healthcare and a Government Pension fund.

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While many are focusing on the actors and celebrities caught up in the US college admissions scandal, which has been developing over the past 12 hours, there are some big names from the business world.

For example, William E. McGlashan Jr., a senior executive at private equity firm TPG. And Douglas Hodge, former chief executive at bond trading firm Pimco.

Mr McGlashan allegedly paid $US50,000 to a foundation that allowed his son's test answers to be corrected and have fake athletic profile created so he could get into the University of Southern California, according to documents released by the Department of Justice.

Mr Hodge's eldest daughter was admitted to Georgetown University because her application stated she won multiple Tennis Association tournaments, when in fact she did not play tennis. And his younger daughter was admitted to University of Southern California on an application stating she was a champion soccer player, but she never played for the university.

Shares in woodchipper Midway have jumped up this afternoon to an all time high price of $4.19.

The stock leapt nearly 10 per cent from $3.95 to $4.19 within eight trades shortly after 2pm this afternoon. They company has not released any news. However it has declared a 9 cent interim and goes ex-dividend tomorrow.

In its half-year results Midway reported a 100 per cent growth in profit to $5.6 million and told shareholders to expect "a strong underlying result in the second half and remains comfortable that the full year 2019 profit result will be consistent with the current analyst consensus range".

Another update on Sigma Health's decision to reject a takeover offer with key investor Allan Gray telling reporter Colin Kruger that "[Sigma] need to live and die by that decision."

Allan Gray played a critical role in API's offer when it sold an 8 per cent stake in Sigma to API ahead of its bid, and signalled its support for the proposed merger.

"We have previously stated that we are supportive of consolidation in the pharmaceutical wholesaling sector and are positively disposed to efforts to expedite its consolidation," the fund manager said in a prepared statement when the proposal was announced in October.

API acquired 84.76 million shares from Allan Gray at 64¢ each. Sigma shares slumped 14 per cent in heavy trading on Wednesday.

Read the full story from Colin Kruger here

Ardent Leisure shares have fallen 20 per cent since the start of March and are trading at a 7 year low of $1.31. There has not been any news out from the company since it released half-year earnings on 22 February.

Since then it has been downgraded to a 'hold' by Baillieu and a block of 15.8 million shares traded on 6 March. On 5 March the Cayman Islands-registered Sun Hung Kai Global Opportunity Fund revealed it had increased its stake to 6.2 per cent.

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