IN BRIEF

GAS

GAS

Apa tie-up concern

THE competition watchdog has raised issues with Apa Group's proposed purchase of Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund, another owner of gas pipeline assets. Apa proposed to sell its holding in another asset to get the deal over the line, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission wants Apa to divest its 50 per cent holding in the Sea Gas pipeline between South Australia and Victoria.

MINING

Fortis peace deal

Shareholders in mining hopeful Fortis will be diluted to a fifth of their present holdings under a peace deal with the owners of the Kazakh potash prospect the company hopes to develop. Fortis will issue 285 million shares to vendor companies based in a string of tax havens, escrowed until the potash deposits are confirmed to be at least 1 billion tonnes. The deal follows the rejection by ASIC of a prospectus to raise money to fund the project. Fortis shares have been suspended from the exchange since November 11.

HARDWARE

Bunnings blitz

Bunnings Hardware plans to take on its rivals in a national blitz that will create thousands of jobs, at a time when the housing sector is at its lowest ebb. To kick off the $1.5 billion program to roll out as many as 85 stores nationwide, it yesterday launched its 200th new store at Greenacre in Sydney's south-west.

PAY TV

Shareholders like bid

Austar shareholders have voted in favour of a takeover by pay TV rival Foxtel, even though the competition watchdog has yet to approve the deal.

AQUACULTURE

Tassal directors quit

Three directors have quit Hobart-based salmon farmer Tassal, as Asian seafood company Pacific Andes takes control of the company. Pacific Andes, through Quality Food (Singapore), is Tassal's largest shareholder at 19.7 per cent, and the Hobart aquaculturist's chairman, Alan McCallum, yesterday confirmed it wanted to reach 51 per cent.

CONSTRUCTION

Tyrwhitt cleans up

The chief executive of troubled construction company Leighton Holdings pocketed $6.25 million for just six months' work. Hamish Tyrwhitt was Leighton's boss for only four months in 2011 after being promoted from head of its Asian operations on August 24. His remuneration for the period equates to just over $240,000 a week.

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