Murray Goulburn ups bid, acts to block Saputo in WCB takeover battle; Northern Territory fastest growing state: Midday Roundup

Murray Goulburn has upped its takeover bid for the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, as Bega has backed its application to the Takeover Panel to block Canadian dairy giant Saputo’s bid.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning Murray Goulburn increased its offer to $9.50 cash per share.

Yesterday, Murray Goulburn asked the Takeovers Panel to restrain Saputo from acquiring WCB shares on the market.

WCB is still urging shareholders to accept Saputo’s offer of $9.20 cash per share, it reaches the relevant interest of more than 50% during the offer period.

Northern Territory is Australia’s fastest growing state

In the 2012-13 financial year the Northern Territory was the nation’s fastest growing economy, with its gross state product jumping 5.6%, well exceeding the nation’s growth of 2.6%.

Western Australia and Queensland also posted solid GSP growth, up 5.1% and 3.6% respectively, while the Australian Capital Territory lifted 2.7% and New South Wales grew 1.8%.

Victoria and South Australia recorded low growth rates of 1.6% and 1.3% respectively, while Tasmania was the only state to post negative growth, declining by 0.6%.

Tasmania’s negative growth rate was the first negative GSP to be posted since the 2000-01 financial year.

Forge Group shares down 90%

Shares in engineering business Forge Group have fallen as much as 90% in early trade, currently trading down 81.94%, as the company comes out of a trading halt this morning.

Before the November 4 suspension, shares had been trading at $4.18, but at 11.46am this morning the shares were down to 75.5 cents.

This morning the company flagged a loss of $90 million for the year to June, incurred because of big losses on two of its power station contracts.

Shares higher on open

Aussie shares have opened up this morning after two flat days, taking its lead from offshore markets.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 33.5 points to 5366.4 at 11.40am AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 24.53 points higher, up 0.15% to 16,097.33.

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