Asahi drinks to $200m settlement over sale deal; Vocation slashes 78 jobs: Midday Roundup

Asahi drinks to $200m settlement over sale deal; Vocation slashes 78 jobs: Midday Roundup

Japanese beverage giant Asahi has won a settlement of close to $200 million from two Australian private equity firms.

Fairfax reports Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) and Unitas will pay Asahi $199 million in an out-of-court settlement over alleged losses incurred from the acquisition of New Zealand company Independent Liquor.

Asahi bought Independent Liquor from the private equity outfits for $1.5 billion in September 2011.

Asahi had alleged PEP and Unitas engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct” by making false representations about Independent Liquor’s financial position, and was seeking damages “for loss suffered as a result of their conduct in breach of Australian Consumer Law” in the Federal Court.

The settlement is one of the largest commercial damages cases in Australia.

Vocation slashes 78 jobs

Struggling education and training provider Vocation has axed 87 jobs in a massive company restructure.

In an announcement to shareholders, the company said it would implement a “more appropriate cost base for the business going forward”, which involve approximately 87 redundancies.

“The restructure will give us greater control of our operations and the company remains fully committed to delivering consistently high quality education outcomes for our students,” Vocation managing director Mark Hutchinson said.

“I am taking personal responsibility to oversee this renewed focus and ongoing growth of the business.”

Vocation has also withdrawn a $10 million Share Purchase Plan that was announced in October. The announcements come after Vocation was forced to forfeit $19.6 million in government funding in early November.

Shares trading lower

Aussie shares recorded some gains in early morning trading, before again slipping below yesterday’s closing benchmark.

CMC Markets chief analyst Ric Spooner said local investors were given a strong lead from Wall Street overnight but today most will be paying attention to “whether recent profit taking in major bank shares continues”, as well as softer commodity prices and forthcoming data about China’s property market.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 3.5 points to 5409 at 11.53 am AEDT. On Monday the Dow Jones closed 13.01 points higher, up 0.07% to 17647.8 points.

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