90 at 9, Thursday February 28, 2008

Welcome to interest.co.nz’s morning briefing of what’s news here and around the world. Everything you need to start the day in 90 seconds at 9’oclock…. Starting now
Firstly, with news that finance company MFS Boston has stopped taking in money and is proposing a debt repayment moratorium. It says it is still confident it can still get back 100% of the NZ.5 million owed to debenture holders plus interest. It’s loan book is backed by real estate assets.
Meanwhile sister company MFS Pacific has asked for more time to put together its own moratorium proposal. The key issue here is how much it can rely on support from its parent MFS Ltd, which has dramas of its own in Australia trying to restructure to refinance its own debts. MFS Pacific owes debenture holders more than NZ0 million.
Meanwhile ANZ National has broken ranks with its main rivals and increased its fixed mortgage rates for 2 and 3 year terms. It is citing the higher cost of wholesale funding.
Elsewhere ANZ National has also jumped on the perpetual bond issue band wagon. It’s planning to raise NZ0 million with the bond issue, which will offer an interest rate north of 10%. ANZ National joins BNZ, which announced an issue to raise up to NZ0 million.
Perhaps predicting this hot new competition, South Canterbury Finance has raised 125 million dollars from private investors in the United States. This is an unusual achievement at a time when wholesale markets are virtually closed to finance companies
That was 90 seconds at 9 o’clock. I’m Bernard Hickey for interest.co.nz. Tune in after midday for a look at what’s happening with mortgage rates and more on MFS Boston’s troubles.