Core activities at Kings Cross

Core activities at Kings Cross, by Michael West - 1st December 2004
(Credit: The Australian)

(Mediaman is assisting 'The Australian' with this scandal)

ASX announcement 30.11.2004: 'SGT: Form 38DD, Appendage B (69) – Singtel Optus – Application for Change of Name and Registered Business Address.

'Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel Optus) has applied to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) for a change of name to SinTel Optus. Group head office has been transferred to Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross (above Club X, Nude Girls Live), as part of a group restructure designed to focus on core activities.'

A SinTel spokesman said yesterday the move reflected the significant increase in revenues from its phone sex operations which are now believed to contribute $150 million to group cash flow.

'The upside is huge,' he said. 'We are expecting synergies to provide a fillip to the bottom line when our retail chain of Nokia Shops is up and running.'

If Paully O'Sullivan and the gang from SinTel were sniggering about Ziggy's Casey donovan kerfuffle last week, they just got it back in shovels.

It emerged yesterday in a judgment at the NSW Supreme Court that SinTel is quite a player in the internet porn segment, via telephone line access. The court found against SinTel for under-reporting the time clients of international porn merchant Gilsan were on the phone getting their porn. Pecuniary judgment has been reserved, although claims and counter-claims are in the order of $US30 million to $US40 million.

Cor! activities

DO you want to get hot? Call Marge now. Are you lying on your bed, draped only in frilly, commercially sensitive documents? Call Marge now.

Do you want to blow a whistle? Call Marge, call now. Do you want to get down and dirty with a hot, sexy scoop? An expose? Call Marge, we are waiting for your call. Are you inside? We like it. Call Marge for an intimate chat. We're waiting for your call. Ooh, ahh.

T3 or not T3

BANKS pitching for a role in the sale of T3 have a dilemma. There's a horrid price-war wreaking destruction on profit margins in the mobile phone sector. But they have to be nice to Telstra.

Vodafone has just crashed Hutchison's Chrissie Party, seeing and raising Hutch's $49 plan (plus $200 worth of calls) with its own $49 plan ($230 worth of calls). Telstra and SinTel – ooh yeah, nasty – are yet to respond.

Anyway, seeing as Telstra shares had rallied 4 per cent in three weeks, The House of Sachs found a 'reasonably compelling short-term investment case' on relative value and an Aussie dollar play for foreigners. Screw the eyes up and there's a silver lining in that old Telstra cloud. Goldman's price target is now $5.20, up from $4.91, and nearing the Government's desired $5.40 sale price on the third and final tranche.

Switzerland calling

NESTLED peacefully in the tax haven of Zug, the boys from Glencore seem to be taking an almost unnatural interest in the Xstrata bid for WMC. (Xstrata is 40 per cent-owned by metals trading house Glencore.)

Amid the snowclad peaks and verdant fields, the boys have been reading the Hornsby Advocate (not to be confused with the SinTel Optus's in-house publication The Horny Advocate) to keep abreast of merger and acquisition activity in the Asia-Pacific.

A bloke called Bill Harcourt, who writes a finance column for the Advocate, mentioned that he wasn't thrilled with the Xstrata bid a couple of weeks ago, due to Glencore's stake in Xstrata and the 'recent' departure of infamous commodities trader Marc Rich. Last week, the Hornsby Advocate featured a letter to the editor from none other than Rich's lawyer in Switzerland pointing out that Rich and Glencore parted company 10 years ago.

Maybe he's just an avid reader of the Advocate but didn't think the paper would be interested in the local government issues of Zug.

Meanwhile, WMC eased 5c to $7.21 yesterday, as Xstrata handed down its bidder's statement. The stock is way above the $6.35 on offer from the Swiss as the takeover arbs reckon a higher bid is odds-on.

A rival offer from the likes of Rio or BHP is likely but no sure thing. And they won't be in a hurry. Should commodities keep running, there is a high chance of a counter. And once a bidding duel began, the final price would be well in excess of $7.21.

If the market falters, not so. The boards of Rio, BHP and other contenders will only enter the fray if they take the view that China will keep booming, Dubya's deficit is under control and commodities are still in big demand.

Then there's WMC's uranium, which nobody is making a fuss about. Regulatory intervention is not out of the question. WMC will explore every opportunity to block the offer. You can bet a few Collins Street jobs on that.


The Australian


SinTel won't confess its sins, by Michael West - 7th December 2004


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