Biz briefs: ComCom swaps news due

Last updated 13:58 17/06/2014

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Swap update due soon

An update on the Commerce Commission's probe into interest rate swaps sold to farmers is expected soon.

In a presentation to stakeholders in Auckland this morning, commission chairman Mark Berry said discussions with banks were continuing "and we hope to make a further announcement in the near future".

The commission has previously said it intended to sue ANZ, ASB and Westpac over alleged breaches of the Fair Trading Act when they sold interest rate swaps to farmers between 2005 and 2009.

The legal action was due to be filed in March but in April the commission said it expected to make a further announcement on the case mid-year "once it has furthered discussions with each bank about the information it holds and any possible resolution of the Commission concerns".

Maximum stake in Virgin Australia for Air NZ

Air New Zealand has nudged its shareholding in Virgin Australia up 1 per cent to just shy of 26 per cent, the maximum Australian authorities will allow.

Air New Zealand is the largest single shareholder of Virgin Australia. Others include Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Virgin Blue founder Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon will take a seat at the Virgin Australia board on July 1.

Luxon said the stake and trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia were vital to Air New Zealand's long term network strategy. Although Virgin Australia was making heavy losses due to an ongoing capacity war with Qantas, Luxon said the group of shareholding airlines remained committed to their investments.

"It's growing market share and with owners like ourselves, Etihad and Singapore Airlines you're looking at three of the most financially strong airlines that can support Virgin to be the best it can be," Luxon said.

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