News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: German investor confidence surges to three-year high; Aussie goldmines to be sold as cash flow rules; and Transfield bites mining bullet.

Staff Reporter

German investor confidence surges to three-year high

German investor confidence jumped more than economists forecast in February to the highest in almost three years, adding to signs that Europe's largest economy is rebounding from its slump, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The ZEW Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, climbed to 48.2 from 31.5 in January.

That's the highest since April 2010.

Economists forecast a gain to 35, according to the median of 38 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

The Bundesbank yesterday said it expected the German economy to return to growth in the current quarter as confidence improved and the global economy gained strength.

Aussie goldmines to be sold as cash flow rules

A number of Australian goldmines owned by the world's biggest gold producers could be up for sale in the near term as the majors respond to an increased focus on cash flow by offloading mature, low-margin mines, according to The Australian.

An analysis by Deutsche Bank identified five mines in Australia and New Zealand likely to be seen as non-core by their owners, potentially opening up growth opportunities for Australia's second-tier miners.

Transfield bites mining bullet

Transfield Services will incur a write-down of up to $285 million due to weakness in the mining arm of its Easternwell oil and gas business before its half-year result next week, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Transfield said the write-down would push up the group's gearing ratio by about 7 percentage points but it would act to reduce its debt so it remained in its target range of between 25% and 35%.

It said the write-down would not force it into an equity raising and would not affect its banking covenants.

''The write-downs are non-cash, do not affect Transfield Services' gearing covenant under its banking agreements and have no impact on operations,'' Transfield said in a statement to the stock exchange.