Briefs

AGRICULTURE

AGRICULTURE

Record crop on way

Farmers are heading for a record crop of 43.4 million tonnes in 2011-12, up 2 per cent on last season. The Australian

Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said favourable winter and spring conditions and a significant recovery in production in Western Australia are the main drivers behind its forecasts.Wheat production Is forecast to rise to 28.3 million tonnes.

SHAREMARKET

Chi-X hit by glitch

A fresh glitch has hit the Australian Securities Exchange, weeks after a failure halted trade on the exchange and infuriated investors. The ASX's trade acceptance service stopped clearing and settling trades by rival exchange Chi-X for two hours from about 10am yesterday, preventing orders lodged at the electronic exchange from being completed. ASX provides clearing and settlement operations for Chi-X even though it is a competitor of the Nomura-backed exchange that was launched in Australia in late October.

AGRICULTURE

Record crop on way

Farmers are heading for a record crop of 43.4 million tonnes in 2011-12, up 2 per cent on last season. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences said favourable winter and spring conditions and a "significant recovery" in production in Western Australia are the main drivers behind its forecasts. Wheat production is forecast to rise to 28.3 million tonnes.

NATIONAL HIRE

Seven wins out

Seven Group Holdings has finalised its takeover of equipment hire company National Hire after a major shareholder accepted the offer. Elph Pty Ltd, a holder of 21.9 per cent of National Hire's stocks, accepted Seven Group's offer late on Monday, taking Seven Group's stake in National Hire to 98.7 per cent. The Kerry Stokes-chaired Seven Group will now increase its offer from $3.35 a National Hire share to $3.75, in line with its previous statements.

COAL

Carabella raising

Queensland coal explorer Carabella has raised $24 million from institutional shareholders to continue developing its coking coal project in the Bowen Basin. The placement was three times oversubscribed with strong support by institutional investors in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, the company said. The announcement follows Carabella's success last week in securing 2 million tonnes a year of port capacity at Abbot Point. Carabella had placed nearly 18.5 million shares at an issue price of $1.30 each.

LISTINGS

New issues down

Capital raised by companies listing on the Australian Securities Exchange fell 61 per cent in November from a year earlier as the turmoil in global financial markets took its toll. Last month, eight companies raised total capital of $3.6 billion from the country's largest exchange operator, down from $9.1 billion raised by 10 companies in November 2010. The fall marks a sharp turnaround after listings jumped 36 per cent to $3.9 billion in October.

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