Today’s business winners and losers

ABC Learning Centres chief Eddy Groves has transformed himself from loser to winner in 24 hours, thanks to his deal to sell a majority interest in his embattled company. You could just about hear Groves’s sigh of the relief all the way from the US when he sealed a $750 million deal for Morgan Stanley Private Equity to buy a majority stake in ABC’s childcare business there.

ABC is only one of several businesses to see its fortunes dramatically rise or fall in recent days.

Perversely, joining Eddy on the winner list is the ASX. While tumbling stocks and margin loan madness have been causing headaches for many an entrepreneur, the volatility saw the ASX notch up a trading volume record in February, an achievement that probably won’t hurt its own bottom line.

And Just Group also finds its place on the winners list – not just because it reported a 3.1% rise in net profit to $40.98 million in second half 2007, but because unlike many other retailers it has seen its share price go up, not down, after a positive results announcement.

On the losers list? Well, digital communications business BlueFreeway continues its gloomy run, after its share price continued to slide despite the emergence of a significant new investor on its books, according to The Australian.

Founder of listed pub owner Hedley Leisure & Gaming Property Fund, Tom Hedley, saw the value of his shareholding in the trust tumble by $26 million; The Australian Financial Review reports Hedley is reputed to have significant margin loans on his shareholding.

And our final loser for today is John Kinghorn, who gave this classic quote to The Australian Financial Review after buying up millions of dollars worth shares in the ailing finance group Allco he founded at an average price of $1.92 per share: “Do I regret taking the shareholding when I see the market price at 60c? Of course I do. I would much prefer to have bought twice as many shares at 60c.”


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