BRIEFS

TAKEOVER

TAKEOVER

Mariner silent

Mariner Corporation's low-ball takeover bid for the stockbroker Wilson HTM may have lapsed. In a statement to the ASX on Monday after the close of trade, Wilson said it had urgently asked Mariner if letters to shareholders notifying them it had increased the offer period from Friday until June 28 had actually been sent. Wilson said Mariner had yet to respond.

MOTOR SALES

January woes

Official data shows Australian sales of new motor vehicles, seasonally adjusted, fell 2.4 per cent in January. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says 95,694 new vehicles were sold in January, seasonally adjusted, compared with a downwardly revised 98,097 in December.

In the year to January, new motor vehicle sales rose 10.8 per cent, seasonally adjusted, from 86,387.

ONLINE SALES

Fashion focus

Speciality Fashion Group's focus on growing its online sales has paid off, with the retailer almost tripling its first-half profit. The company, which owns a portfolio of fashion banners including Millers, Katies and Crossroads, reported a net profit of $17.97 million for the six months to December 31, significantly higher than the $6.16 million made in the previous corresponding period. The result sent Specialty Fashion shares soaring, closing 7.5ยข higher at $1.025.

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