Going cap in hand for all that it's worth

There are some interesting value gaps opening up amid the volatility.

There are some interesting value gaps opening up amid the volatility.

GLOBAL brewing giant SABMiller's decision not to put a sharemarket index detonator clause in its $10.8 billion bid for Foster's Group suggests that when you get your pricing right, such protections are less relevant.

It reminded Insider, as another day of price carnage hit almost every other stock except Foster's, that there are some interesting value gaps opening up amid the volatility.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index, in spite of what you might think, is about 26 per cent above where it bottomed in the darkest days of the global crisis in March 2009 before a series of successful emergency equity raisings lifted spirits and prices.

If the index is accepted as a benchmark for roughly where stocks ought to be compared with that time, there are some individual shockers which have fallen above and beyond the call thanks to ''special circumstances''. BlueScope Steel, for example, touched bottom at $2 billion of market worth in 2009, but is worth almost half that again as it tries to cope with the twin stresses of a carbon-taxed future and the soaring Australian currency.

Insurance Australia Group and its industry fellow QBE Insurance Group have also matched, or ''bettered'' their lows of 2009 thanks to the series of natural disasters here, in Asia and the northern hemisphere over this year. IAG is, just, holding the line with its market worth finishing at a touch over $6 billion last night, having got down to $5.8 billion back then. QBE, which in 2009 tried to fall as far as $15 billion but did not quite make it, fell through that barrier last month and has kept on going. Yesterday, it finished at $13.2 billion, compared with its market peak of $30.4 billion in 2007.

Flight Centre has been counter-cyclical, as they say, mostly inspired by the rush of currency-enriched Australians to ticket counters. Having stepped down from $3.2 billion to a horrific market capitalisation low of $342 million, it is now $1.7 billion.

That is certainly better than its sort-of competitor, which soared from $570 million in 2009 to a $1.7 billion peak last year - but yesterday fell under $800 million in worth.

Lastly, National Australia Bank's break with its rivals is now profoundly evident in its market value, as well as its marketing.

From bottom to now, NAB's market worth is up 54 per cent - which sounds creditable in isolation and when you are talking about a company worth almost $50 billion.

The problem is that its three main rivals in the local market are almost double their 2009 values, with Westpac the leader on a 94 per cent gain to $57.3 billion. Commonwealth is bigger in dollar terms, $67 billion, but only 89 per cent higher. Finally ANZ , which was the tiddler of the foursome back in the 2009 doldrums at $25.7 billion, is now holding at around $50 billion - bigger than NAB, which has never surpassed its 2007 peak. See what happens when you break with the pack?

Miner's lamentDAY One of base metals miner Kagara's new five-year plan could have worked out a whole lot better for chief Geoff Day.

Sinking global outlook and a dirty sharemarket helped drive Kagara shares down almost 20 per cent, a 9? a share fall to 41?. Less than a fortnight ago they had perked up to 60? each, which means something like $150 million has been knocked off their market value.

Insider's snout at Wednesday's presentation of the Kagara plan, held at Chillagoe west of Cairns, reckons the plans were broadly well received by investors and brokers, although it was recognised that the near-term was less attractive.

About a third of yesterday's turnover in the stock came out of Queensland retail broker Wilson HTM, including one line of just over 2 million shares at 43.5?. Kagara's Day gets a second bite at the sales cherry next week when he is due to do another presentation for investors in a more hospitable, but not necessarily more attractive, part of Queensland on the Gold Coast.

Sniff and tellDIETERS, the consumer watchdog and stiffed franchisees will no doubt be pleased to know that SensaSlim has not only re-formulated its oral weight-loss spray but was big at the New York fashion week - or so its new marketing says.

Apparently SensaSlim, which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has alleged is an enterprise of noted conman Peter Foster, has had a ''breakthrough in the formulation in its intra oral spray that has seen it withdraw SensaSlim Solution from the market and introduced a new product to be marketed as 'SensaSlim Slimming Spray' in a pleasant vanilla flavour''.

Insider can only hope that the description is far more accurate than the article that appeared this week on a site called, that purports to describe its presence at the Big Apple's fashion show.

''The model, Norwegian Erjana Ala, 16, a rising star for sure, discovered the SENSASLIM spray in her native Norway where it has recently been released,'' said the article. ''The other girls saw me spray it, and now everyone is wanting it.''

Apart from the fact her name is actually Erjona, the report also reckons that ''Heidi Klum, Alica Keys, Emma Roberts, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Stacy Ferguson, Kanye West, Kelly Osbourne, Kirsten Dunst and Vanessa Hudgens'' are queuing up for the stuff. Unfortunately, the description in that story of a sign backstage about eating before strutting, and an accompanying picture, actually date back to a Givenchy show in 2009 - and a photo of models backstage is from Milan in 2009.

Great momentsPATS on the back time:

1) To Chris Harris and the Argo Investments board for leaving no mystery in what went into former managing director Rob Patterson's retirement payout.

Whether investors agree or not with the decision, the board has said clearly that it took a decision to reward Patterson's 41 years of service and performance with a $500,000 golden goodbye. The rest of his $628,140 of termination payment was accrued long service leave.

2) To outgoing chairman of McPherson's, Simon Rowell, whose parting gift to his fellow directors has been the appointment of a woman, Amanda Lacaze, to the board.

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