Re: The infrastructure bubble (yesterday, item 5). The first bit of leveraged
infrastructure to “unravel” looks like the Westpac managed FIELDS (ASX: AEYG)
which are unsecured high yield notes (BBSW + 5.25%) over the Delhi Petroleum
piece of the Cooper Basin. Projected EBITDA of $122m in CY
2006 has to meet over $80m in capex, $30m in interest on the notes, about $15m
of senior debt interest which doesn’t quite add up (-$3m on these numbers) and
breaches various of the clauses in the whole deal. The notes now trade at $75
versus issue of $100 and are clear junk debt rated paper. The deal was a $635m
acquisition of Delhi in 2004 with a US$250m senior debt
syndicate and a Westpac bridging facility refinanced through these FIELDS –
plenty of fees too. ($35m on Delhi acquisition and restructure
alone…)

Re: The Courier Mail going tabloid. The
people of Brisbane are already facing a serious lag in journalism
standards and it’s going to get worse with the tabloid. Already the axe
is falling on people and sections at The Courier with the
tabloid’s launch due early next year. Various sections have been
earmarked for execution. Starting with the Home Magazine – possibly the
best read of all inserts it’s being shut. Then there’s the travel
section, the daily features section, perspectives, entertainment etc
and various columnists are being closely examined to see if they will
survive. In the background are a number of senior journalists who are
also likely to face the chop. Editor David Fagan at a staff meeting
denied there would be job cuts instead choosing to spin it along the
lines of people are going to be doing different jobs. Which raises the
question will 50-year-old reporters be doing late night police rounds,
I don’t think so. Wait for the sackings er.. I mean redundancies.