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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Air New Zealand, Billabong, Newcrest

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) rose 0.2 percent to 4,293.10 at 10:51 a.m. in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed at 3,321.47 in Wellington.

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

AGL Energy Ltd. (AGL) (AGK AU) dropped 3.8 percent to A$13.80 after the electricity and gas retailer agreed to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in Victoria’s Loy Yang power station and coal mine for A$448 million ($480 million).

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR) fell 3.4 percent to 86 New Zealand cents after the country’s biggest carrier said it will enforce cost-saving measures that add NZ$195 million ($163 million) to annual profit after posting a “disappointing” half-year result. The Auckland-based company reported a 61 percent drop in net income for the six months to Dec. 31 and said it will cut 441 jobs by the end of June as part of a series of initiatives to improve profit by its 2015 fiscal year.

Billabong International Ltd. (BBG) , Australia’s largest surfwear company, gained 5.8 percent to A$2.92. TPG Capital, the buyout firm run by David Bonderman, has offered A$765 million for Billabong, valuing the Gold Coast, Australia-based company at 12 times projected fiscal 2012 net income, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s half the median 24 times paid in takeovers of apparel makers in developed markets worth more than $500 million, the data show.

David Jones Ltd. (DJS) , Australia’s second-biggest department store chain, rose 2.8 percent to A$2.62 after the stock was raised to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. The stock was raised to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at UBS AG.

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. (EGP) (EGP AU) gained 4 percent to A$3.95 after the owner of four Australian casinos reported first-half profit of A$70.2 million.

Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU) declined 1.8 percent to A$16.56 after the company’s stock was cut to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at UBS AG.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) fell 3.9 percent to A$34.69 after Australia’s largest gold mining company said production at its Lihir plant in Papua New Guinea will be cut by as much as 60,000 ounces this quarter because of production disruptions.

Telecom Corp. of New Zealand (TEL NZ) advanced 0.7 percent to NZ$2.165 after the nation’s largest telephone company said first-half profit rose 52 percent as depreciation and other costs fell after separating its Chorus network unit.

Toll Holdings Ltd. (TOL) rose 3.9 percent to A$5.54 after the stock was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Deutsche Bank. The stock was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” by analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG.

To contact the reporter for this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for sthis story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net

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