- The Federal Government has stopped processing visa applications from people travelling to Australia from Ebola-affected countries.
- Medibank Private’s float opens to the public today, but analysts say retail investors are being kept in the dark.
- CSL is set to create the world’s second biggest flu vaccine business by purchasing part of Novartis. The Australian biotech giant is paying US $275 million ($312 million) for Novartis’s global influenza vaccine business.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 28th October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
The Federal Government has stopped processing visa applications from people travelling to Australia from Ebola-affected countries.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament the Government was focusing its efforts on ensuring the virus did not spread to Australia.
The minister told Parliament the country’s humanitarian program, along with the immigration program, had been temporarily suspended.
“These measures include temporarily suspending our immigration program, including our humanitarian program, from Ebola-affected countries, and this means we are not processing any application from these affected countries,” he said.
Mr Morrison also confirmed all non-permanent or temporary visas would be cancelled.
The Federal Government has been criticised by the Opposition, the Greens, and the Australian Medical Association over its response to the outbreak.
The Government has committed $18 million in funds to fight the disease, but has so far stopped short of sending medical teams to West Africa.
Health Minister Peter Dutton revealed Health and Immigration Department officials spent the weekend discussing Australia’s response.
Mr Dutton confirmed the Government had considered whether to send health workers to the region, but said no final decision had been made.
Medibank Private’s float [opens] the public ….[today] …but analysts say retail investors are being kept in the dark.
… small investors will be able to apply for a dollar amount of shares.
But investors will not know how many shares they will get, or how much each share will cost, until the final pricing is announced on November 25, after the final price has been set by large institutional investors.
The prospectus has given an indicative price range of $1.55 to $2 for Medibank shares, and the Federal Government has capped the price for small (under $250,000) retail investors at $2 a share.
Broker firm bids for share allocations are due this Wednesday, but many broking firms are believed to have closed the offer early.
One of the largest retail brokers, CommSec, is believed to have closed its offer on Thursday and Macquarie will do so tomorrow.
The head of equities research at Morningstar, Peter Warnes, said this is having the effect of creating false demand and bidding up the price.
Mr Warnes says small investors are being treated like mushrooms.
“Well you know how mushrooms grow, and therefore I’m saying that retail investors are kept in the dark and fed what mushrooms are fed – you know what mushrooms get fed,” he said.
“So I think they’re being used as cannon fodder quite frankly.”
Mr Warnes says the whole process has confusing for the average ‘mum and dad’ share investor.
In particular, the Federal Government has put a very wide price range on the shares, meaning the investors will not know whether they are getting a fair deal until after they have committed to buy.
CSL is set to create the world’s second biggest flu vaccine business by purchasing part of Novartis.
The Australian biotech giant is paying $US275 million ($312 million) for Novartis’s global influenza vaccine business.
CSL said combining bioCSL’s existing flu vaccine operations with Novartis’s will create the second largest player in the $US4 billion ($4.5 billion) global flu vaccine industry.
The combined company will have plants in the US, UK, Germany and Australia, which CSL said gives it geographical diversification, and will have sales approaching $1 billion per year over the next three to five years.
CSL says it expects one-off integration costs of $US100 million, mostly incurred next financial year, while combining the businesses is forecast to save around $US75 million per year by 2020.
The takeover is expected to be funded internally by CSL through surplus cash and the company said it is not expected to impact the planned share buyback program announced earlier this month.
The deal is expected to be concluded in the second half of next year, subject to obtaining relevant regulatory approvals.
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