Telecom New Zealand has this morning announced a $423 million loss
after taking an $813 million write-down on its investment in AAPT. This
is the second hit the Kiwis have suffered and the business they bought
for $2.3 billion is now in the books at just $628 million after several
failed attempts to offload it.

That speaks volumes about the industry structure and competition regime
in the Australian telecommunications market. It’s always been hard
competing with Telstra, but under the hard-nosed Sol Trujillo and his
team, it’s only getting tougher and Graeme Samuel should be having a
good look at what has happened.

Telecom New Zealand now emerges as one of the unhappiest foreign
investors to try its luck Down Under. Not many have dropped more than
$1 billion. To track this, we’re resurrecting our list of foreign “winners and losers”, which could do with some updating to [email protected]

The Kiwis don’t have a particularly happy record in Australia,
especially given the government bailout of Air New Zealand after Ansett
collapsed in September 2001 and the losses that Brierley Investments
sustained. However, New Zealand’s richest man, Graeme Hart, has
literally made billions trading Australian assets, so all is not lost.

And Lion Nathan did well buying Bond Brewing 15 years ago, although the
company then shifted its headquarters to Australia which became another
loss for the Kiwis.

Peter Fray

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