Trade Me in trading halt as Fairfax announcement looms 18 Jun 2012
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Trade Me in trading halt as Fairfax announcement looms
By Paul McBeth
June 18 (BusinessDesk) - Shares in online auction house Trade Me have been put on a trading halt pending a material announcement.
The Wellington-based company requested the halt in the lead-up to two statements, one from itself and one from parent Fairfax Media.
Last week, Fairfax cut its full-year earnings guidance by 18 percent in what's shaping up to be its worst operating performance since 2008. The media company expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of about A$500 million in the 12 months ended June 30, down from A$607.4 million a year earlier
Fairfax bolstered its balance sheet by spinning off a third of the shares in auction website Trade Me last year, having loaded the subsidiary with debt and extracted NZ$220 million in dividends in its last full year of ownership.
Since listing in December, Trade Me beat its pre-tax profit forecast by 2.2 percent as it attracted more sales of new goods through its platform.
Fairfax has been fighting running battles on several fronts in recent months, with its biggest shareholder Gina Rinehart pushing for two seats on the board, an Australian strike over outsourcing production to New Zealand, and speculation its plunging share price might attract a hostile takeover from a private equity player.
Trade Me shares fell 2.5 percent to $3.56 in Friday trading, and have surged 32 percent from their sale in November. Fairfax shares rose 0.8 percent to 60.5 Australian cents on the ASX on Friday, having dropped 16 percent this year.
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