Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Centro, Chorus, NRW, Fisher, Rio

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2 percent to 4,051 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.5 percent to 3,268.67 in Wellington.

The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Mining stocks: Australia’s lower house of parliament passed a mining tax bill last night that will see BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), Rio Tinto Group (RIO) and other iron-ore and coal producers pay about A$11 billion ($10.8 billion) in extra charges in the first three years of the levy. The bill will be put to a vote next year in the upper-house Senate.

BHP (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, fell 3.1 percent to A$34.51. MacArthur Coal Ltd. (MCC) shed 0.1 percent to A$16.23.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) fell 3.4 percent to A$62.30. The company said some of its mines in New South Wales state have been affected by outages at Orica Ltd.’s ammonium nitrate and ammonia plants that supply explosives used in mining. The company is “working to manage that impact,” it said yesterday.

Centro Retail Group (CER) rose 8.1 percent to 33.5 Australian cents. The company yesterday averted liquidation after shareholders approved a plan to cancel debt and pool assets into a new real-estate trust with A$4.4 billion ($4.3 billion) of Australian shopping center properties.

Chorus Ltd. (CNU AU) climbed 8 percent to A$2.44 in Sydney. The owner of New Zealand’s largest telephone network also began trading on the New Zealand stock exchange today, rising to NZ$3.21 from NZ$3 at the open, ahead of its spin off from Telecom Corp. of New Zealand Ltd. (TEL) on Nov. 30. Chorus started trading on the Australian stock exchange on Nov. 21. Telecom surged 4.5 percent to NZ$2.025 in Wellington, its biggest increase since June 14.

Orica Ltd. (ORI) fell 1.4 percent to A$23.95. The world’s largest industrial explosives maker is seeking alternative sources of supply for its customers after halting operations at its Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate facility this month, it said yesterday.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp. (FPH) fell 1.2 percent to NZ$2.39. The New Zealand maker of breathing masks and hospital equipment said full-year profit may rise to as much as NZ$67 million ($50 million) in the year ending March 31 on increased sales and cheaper production from a new Mexico plant.

Gryphon Minerals Ltd. (GRY) tumbled 12 percent to A$1.325, its biggest loss since Sept. 26. The company will sell 45 million new shares to institutional investors at A$1.30 each, 13 percent less than its Nov. 21 closing price.

IOOF Holdings Ltd. (IFL) dropped 10 percent to A$5.37. The company expects lower first-half underlying profit of A$46 million to A$51 million.

NRW Holdings Ltd. (NWH) climbed 13 percent to A$2.78, set for its biggest advance since April 2009. The company expects to report first-half net income of A$41 million to A$43 million and predicts a similar result in the second half based on its order book, according to a regulatory filing today.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) rose 0.7 percent to A$35.39. The second-biggest oil and gas producer in Australia received a new “underperform” rating at RBC Capital today with a target price of A$40.

To contact the reporter on this story: Soraya Permatasari in Melbourne at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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