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AMP rises as Telstra hangs up

AMP has put the horrors of the GIO takeover behind them, last week announcing an unexpected $1.5 billion turnaround in net profit.

The profit, which was underpinned by the company’s strong financial services arm and cost-cutting in Australia and the UK, comes despite losses of $1.4 billion due to GIO re-insurance and company in-fighting.

Following the announcement, AMP shares rose 38c to $19.82, and with managing director Paul Bachelor claiming the profit growth is sustainable, better times look to be on the horizon for the company.

Telecommunications giant Telstra has certainly seen better times. It is now facing the prospect of paying out more than $10 million to Big Pond customers who were cut off from their email last week.

A bizarre computer glitch wreaked havoc with the Internet provider service leaving more than 68,000 customers whose email addresses began with I, L and M unable to access their accounts. Under company policy, customers are paid $40 a day if there are delays in fixing the problem.

A small bug in the software of Telstra servers – machines used to store and transmit Internet data – is believed to be the cause of the fault.

Pacific Dunlop encountered a major glitch in its bid to spin-off its health care division Ansell when US stakeholders Shamrock Holdings called for a full break-up of the manufacturing company.

Shamrock, which has a 13 per cent stake in PacDun, has vowed to block the deal, which is part of a recently announced restructuring process designed to revitalise the struggling conglomerate.

Instead, Shamrock wants to offload PacDun’s assets within the next year, with any excess cash distributed to shareholders.

But PacDun are not prepared to roll over for Shamrock, maintaining its restructuring plans would give shareholders the best deal.

Prime Minister John Howard gave Aussie motorists a better deal on Friday when he cut the controversial fuel excise.

Petrol prices are expected to fall about 1.7c per litre but the move means the predicted budget surplus has dropped by $1.5 billion.

Points on the scoreboard were certainly not in surplus for the Fremantle Dockers who were thrashed by Richmond and knocked out of the Ansett Cup competition on Sunday at Optus Oval.

The team was given a 94-point hiding by the Tigers, whose ruck and forward players simply outclassed the Dockers.

In the world of cricket, it was WA’s star wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist who was handing out the hidings.

Gilchrist scored a most impressive 122 off 112 balls and was justly named man of the match in last week’s Test match in the Australia v India series.

There were no such cele-brations in the world of Formula One with the tragic death of a 51-year-old track marshall at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

The man died after he was struck by debris resulting from the collision between British/American racing’s number one driver Jacques Villeneuve and Williams driver Ralf Schumacher.

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