Territory Stories

The Centralian Advocate Tue 28 Sep 2021



The Centralian Advocate Tue 28 Sep 2021


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

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News Corp Australia

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News Corp Australia



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20 BUSINESS TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 28 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Sigma believes that the rationale for a combination of API and Sigma is highly compelling Ray Gunston AS Australia looks to reopen to the world, Scott Morrison (pictured) will this week be handed advice on whether the nation should recognise vaccines made in China and India. Currently, the Therapeutic Goods Administration only recognises vaccines made in Europe, the US and Australia: Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna and AstraZeneca. TGA boss Professor John Skerritt told NCA Newswire the regulator had done a lot of work to evaluate vaccines made elsewhere, but in some cases, information has been scarce. One of the biggest challenges is, in general, there's not enough or not as much information out there in the medical literature, and in publicly available reports on the Indian and Chinese vaccines compared with, say, the ones that Europe, North America, Australia have all approved, he said. But we're also going to those governments and trying to get information thats also available, but isnt public on those vaccines. Professor Skerritt said he estimated the advice would be updated continuously as new information came to hand. Sinovac and Sinopharm, both developed by Chinese pharmaceutical companies, are currently not approved by the TGA. There is no public data yet on the vaccines efficacy against any of the Covid variants. New vax advice on the way COURTNEY GOULD panys Bunnings, Kmart, Target and Officeworks stores, both API and Sigma are avid defenders of Australias community pharmacy laws, which stipulate that pharmacists must own pharmacies, not retail conglomerates. It is this law that Sigma CEO Mark Hooper said would be a challenge to Wesfarmers if its bid for API was successful. Im sure they can bring some new skills and insights there, but it is a different model to what theyve got for the rest of their businesses, Mr Hooper said last week. I mean, these arent retail outlets they own, they are retail outlets that pharmacists own. So there will be some challenges on that front. But Wesfarmers has entered the bidding with one key advantage: securing a deal with APIs biggest shareholder Washington H. Soul Pattinson to buy its 19.3 per cent stake in the company, subject to a superior offer. Sigma shares rose 1c to 61c on Mon day, while API closed up 3.1 per cent, or 4.5c, at $1.51 below Wesfarmers offer price, which is an indication that the market is betting more on the retail conglomerate API initially courted Sigma three years ago with a $727m takeover bid, which Mr Hooper firmly rejected, declaring he could deliver better value for shareholders by allowing him to pursue his growth strategy. Sigma is now in a stronger position than when API first approached the company, having resumed paying dividends after swinging back into the black in March. Vikesh Ramsunder will replace Mr Hooper as Sigma CEO in February. Sigma in $773m bid to take over rival WESFARMERS is facing competition from Australias biggest pharmaceutical distributor, Sigma Healthcare, in the battle to take over Priceline owner Australian Pharmaceutical Industries. Sigma, the owner of the Amcal and Guardian chemist brands, revealed its hand on Monday, lobbing a $773.3m bid for API. Sigmas offer comprises 35c cash and 2.05 Sigma shares for every API share, which it said implies a value of $1.57 per API share 2c higher than Wesfarmers all-cash offer of $1.55. API revived merger talks with Sigma in July soon after Wesfarmers made its initial bid of $1.38 a share, in an effort to generate more value. Sigma talked up its offer on Monday, saying it would generate $45m a year in synergies, with API shareholders owning 48.8 per cent of the company. Sigma believes that the rationale for a combination of API and Sigma is highly compelling, with significant benefits accruing to both sets of shareholders, the industry and other stakeholders, chairman Ray Gunston said. He said a merged entity which would combine Australias No.1 and No.2 pharmaceutical distributors would create a stronger platform to operate in a changing landscape. The combined entity will benefit from Sigmas best-in-class and modern distribution capability; and greater scale and balance sheet capacity. Sigma intends to fund the cash component of the proposal through new debt. While Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott has ruled out incorporating Priceline Pharmacy stores in the com TA K EOV E R S JARED LYNCH Ray Gunston says API joining Sigma would create a stronger platform. Picture: Stuart McEvoy Sportsbet increases online market share SPORTSBET lifted its share of the online sports betting market to 50 per cent in the first half of 2021, with retention rates solid over the period, according to its parent company Flutter Entertainment. The Irish-based Flutter pointed to strong growth in Australias online sports betting market, telling investors it had generated a compound annual growth rate of 21 per cent over the past five years. Sportsbet, one of the leading players in the local gaming market, centred its growth strategy around product, value and marketing to attract customers, with the gaming group reinvesting in generosities (handouts to punters, such as free bets). These perks stood at 26 per cent of gross gaming revenue in 2020, double the 2016 figure, according to a report by Goldman Sachs. There remains a long runway for growth, and more broadly for the sector, as (Flutter) noted there are 15.2 million adult sports fans in Australia, of which 10 million pay to watch sports and around 7 million bet with any bookmaker, Goldmans Sachs analysts told clients. Tourism stocks bounce on positive Covid news THE Australian sharemarket finished in the black on Monday with travel stocks among the best performers. The benchmark ASX200 index strengthened 0.57 per cent to 7384.2 points while the All Ordinaries Index gained 0.54 per cent to 7690.7. CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said the local bourse had a cracking start despite little movement on Wall Street. With three days of trading left this month, the ASX 200 is trading down 2 per cent for September, which could mean an end to a stellar run of 11 straight months of gains. But OMG chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said travel stocks had a stellar day. The NSW premier pre sented the road map out of lockdown, which has again boosted travel stocks, he said. Flight Centre, which plans to soon reopen up to 150 stores in NSW, gained 7.48 per cent to $21.27, Webjet lifted 5.2 per cent to $6.46 and Qantas added 2.8 per cent to $5.80. Westpac bolsters its pandemic support WESTPAC has expanded its low interest rate relief for small businesses affected by the pandemic. Using the federal governments SME Recovery Loan Scheme, Westpac will offer eligible businesses loans starting at 2.58 per cent per annum. Businesses can borrow up to $5m via the scheme. Westpac chief executive of consumer & business banking Chris de Bruin says the loans scheme would give business more room to breath and get back on their feet. The SME Recovery Loans will not only assist businesses feeling the impact of current lockdowns, but will also help those preparing to reopen and grow, he says. To apply, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than $250m, have been trading for more than 12 months and have a valid ABN. Australian businesses have had everything thrown at them in the last couple of years, but have shown remarkable resilience, Mr de Bruin said. Westpac shares lifted 0.8 per cent to $25.46, while CBA was the best of the big banks, adding 2.8 per cent to $104.59. B A N K I N G DAVID ROSS G A M I N G CLIONA ODOWD M A R K E T S REBECCA LE MAY