DataRoom AM: Wesfarmers target

Wesfarmers reportedly has a timeline on a decision for its OAMPS business, while Myer and David Jones may follow up this week’s earnings with merger news.

Wesfarmers is reportedly set to decide on an OAMPS float before the end of the month. Also in retail, David Jones and Myer are in focus this week with first-half results pending.

Elsewhere, a French player has emerged as a possible buyer for Peters Ice Cream, Genworth Financial is expected to hand in prospectus documents to ASIC before the end of the month and nickel’s surge lends support to MMG.

Western Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers will tell investors at the end of the month whether it’ll have a crack at floating its $1.12 billion OAMPS insurance broking business, The Australian Financial Review reports.

The newspaper says a “provisional timetable” has been written for the plan, though that hasn’t been officially confirmed by the company.

In retail, David Jones and Myer both release first-half results this week and shareholders from both department stores will be wondering above all else where the merger plans are going. David Jones reports on Wednesday, with Myer following on the Thursday.

New David Jones chairman Gordon Cairns has convinced chief executive Paul Zahra to stay on, which was his first priority once taking the chair before merger scenarios were examined.

However, investors hoping for something concrete from Cairns on Wednesday will likely be disappointed. Upon taking the chair, Cairns indicated that he’d seek outside advice on the Myer proposal that was rejected by his predecessor Peter Mason.

That advice won’t come overnight.

Meanwhile, France’s PAI Partners could be a possible buyer for iconic label Peters Ice Cream from private equiteer Pacific Equity Partners, according to the AFR.

The same newspaper reports mortgage insurer Genworth Financial is expected to file prospectus documents with the corporate regulator for a float of 40 per cent of its Australian business before the end of the month.

Elsewhere, Sydney-based venture capitalist Rick Baker has told The Australian that local VC firms are missing opportunities to support quick-growing software, gaming and e-commerce businesses that ultimately win funding from US players.

"These US firms offer advice on how to grow the company and team very quickly, as well as processes to manage such growth," said Baker.

The Australian also reports that the surging nickel price has increased interest for MMG’s mothballed Avebury mine on the west coast of Tasmania.

Chief executive Andrew Michelmore told the newspaper that restarting the plant wasn’t on its agenda, which leaves buyers with a clear path -- adding that the site has had “quite a bit of interest”.

"Our issue is that its size doesn't fit in our portfolio, so it is a case of finding the group for which it becomes an important asset in their growth plans," he said.

Alexander Liddington-Cox is a freelance business journalist based in the Middle East.

Follow @aliddingtoncox on Twitter.

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