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(generated from captions) political party is going to

emerge from this unscaitd. It's

a pocks on all their houses and

it's perhaps best summed it's perhaps best summed up by

one MP's claim for bags of

manure. That pretty much says

it all - horse poo. The Eurovision song contest has

long been a source of

controversy. Already this year,

Georgia has had to pull out

after upsetting the Russians

with a song that made an

embarrassing play on the name

Vladimir Putin. As well, there have been accusation of

vote-rigging, cheating,

sabotage and plain bads taste.

Now Israel's entry has created

a storm in the Middle East

because a Jewish singer has

paired up with an Arab Israeli

to sing about peace. Middle

East correspondent aern Barker

reports. - Anne Barker

reports. It's meant to be a

song about peace with the kind

Eurovision of schmaltzy lyrics the

Eurovision judges love and one

these singers hope might go

some way to bringing the

Israelis and Iranians a bit

closer. I want to convey a

message: I've been doing that

throughout my career working

for peace. To me I want to

use it in order to bring our

people, both our people, people, both our people, to a

reality where we can live side

by side without inflict ing

harm to each other. It's

collaboration between a Jewish

Israeli singer and an Arab

Israeli, present ing a rare

unified face to the worlds.

only It is impossible that it's

only through violence and the

escalating level of extremism

that we can make any progress.

We have a responsibility of

finding that other way,

whatever it is. But their

message of peace has only

served to inflame tensions in

Israel about what should

represent the Jewish State and

what it means to be Israeli.

Some jus and Arabs are angry

that the pair were chosen to

sing at this year's

Eurovision. Palestinians say no Eurovision. Palestinians say no

Arab living in Israel should be

presenting a picture of harmony

that doesn't exist, Pes licial

when the pair were chosen at

the height of Israel's recent

bombardment of Gaza. Being part

of the Israeli propaganda and

going out into the world hand

by hand with an Israeli Jew,

it's too distort the real

picture of what's happening on

the ground. The co existence

starts when I am as a starts when I am as a

Palestinian have the rights to

be an equal citizens to any Jew

living here with me. Ultra

conservative Jews they the

Israeli representative is not

the right person to represent

the Jewish State. Someone who

represents Israel has to be

proud of it, has to accept this is

is a Jewish state and has to

like the national anthem, like

the flag. We're not singing

about existence, an existing

situation. We're trying to sing

and cry out for a situation

that we are striving -. There

are those who write all kinds

of articles in the nurm ltion

and there are those who write

songs and sing them and that is

first what we can do. It's not the

first time the Eurovision song contest has caused controversy

in Israel. 11 years ago the

grammous Israeli trans sexual

surprised everyone, including

Israeli s themselves, by

winning and upset ing Jewish

conservatives along the way.

No-one expects the Israelis

to win because the vision vis

voting system tends to favour

countries with support from

Israel doesn't their own region. Something

Israel doesn't have. In the

end, though, these two women

are not too fussed whether they

win the Eurovision or not. The

victory for them, they say, is

not in the prize but in the


And last night, the Israeli

duo won through to the

Eurovision song contest final,

which will be held later this which will be held later this

week. Now to the weather -

showers for Canberra, Adelaide,

Melbourne and Hobart. Sunny but

become ing windy in Sydney.

Possible afternoon storm Nathan

Rees Brisbane with a dry day

for Darwin and Perth. That's

all from us. If you would like

to look back at tonight's

interviews with Nick Xenophon

or Steve Fielding or review any

visit our story or transcript, you can

visit our website. And now Lateline Business with Ali

Commonwealth Bank cuts Moore. Thanks. Tonight, the

dividends but profits remain in

rude health. It was a solid

result, in line with the market

expectations and following on

from the other banks expectations not too many

surprises. Taking stock -

Stockland joins the corporate

rush to raise funds. The banks rush to raise funds. The banks

are forcing these property

companies because the Banks

themselveses are overexpotioned

they're force ing them to raise

capitol to reduce their gearing

ratios. And a Budget boost to

the bond market. A huge

increase. On top of that you

have Government guaranteed bank

bonds and Government guaranteed

state government bonds. Very significant strucial changes in

the bond market.

To the markets and

Australian shares fell for a

third day, as more capital

raisings weighed on investor sentiment. The All Ords shed

Rio Tinto leading the half a per cent with Santos and

de-Kleins. The ASX 200 dropped

21 points. In Japan the Nikkei

climbed half a per cent, falls

in banking stocks pushed Hong

Kong's hang essential into the

also weaker. red and in London the FTSE is

also weaker. It's a familiar

story for all the banks,

despite rising bad debts and

falling dividends the bottom

lines are the big of f of the

big four remain remarkably healthy. Today the Commonwealth

Bank says it's taken a $600

million hit for bad loans in

the first three months of the

year. But it's still had cash

earnings of more than $1

billion in the period. And in

in an encouraging sign, the growth

in bad loans appears to be

slowing. Neal Woolrich reports.

While overseas banks clamour

for investor capital and

government support, Australia's

big four are posting result

thoos are the envy of their

global peers. Today, the

Commonwealth revealed unaudited

cash earnings for the March

quarter of $1.15 billion,

liquid assets of

liquid assets of $87 billion

and a tier one ratio of

8.33%. Credit growth slow and

we've been able to offset this through market share gains. It

was a solid result in line with

the market's expectations and

following on from the other

banks statements over the last

couple of weeks not too many

surprises. Despite their

overall ro profitability, local overall ro profitability, local

banks continued to report loss

on their loan books. The Commonwealth Bank says its bad

debt charge was $630 million

for thequarter. That came from

an increase in consumer

arrears, deterioration among

small and medium enterprises,

and losses in specific

industries like mining, tourism

and the export sector. But Carl Daffy says the Commonwealth's

bad debts were better than his firm's expectation. There firm's expectation. There was a

marked slowdown in the rate of

bad dents. And therefore when

you compare that to the second

half of calendar year '08,

compared to this current

quarter where we're look at the

March '09 number, certainly

there was a slowdown in the

rate of deterioration in CBA's

loan book which is quite positive. The Commonwealth today cut its today cut its interim dividend

by 25%, in a move designed to shore up its capital

position. Not even that seemed

to ruffle investor s, who

pushed the CBA share price up a

third of one per cent in a

weaker market. To be honest

with you, we're expecting a cut

in the in order of 30%,

possibly as high as 33% in the

dividend. So only have a 25%

cut in the dividend was a

marginal positive surprise. So it's very

it's very much in line with

what the rest of the sector has

already done. So the share

price didn't react negatively

to that at all. Ralph Norris

says CBA's late est

acquisition, Bankwest, posted

solid business in the March

quarter but with Westpac taking

over St George last year that

will leave banking customers

with fewer options The

Commonwealth seem to have pursued this fairly pursued this fairly

aggressively. They claim their

market share has increased by a

bit over 2%, which is a fairly

large number. They seem to be

pricing a little bit more

aggressively than their

competitors that's why they're

picking up their market prayer shair and a large part of this

was in the first home buyers

which they've been

pursuing. Our estimate s are

you will see the big four banks

probably capture in the order

of 90% of market share over the

next couple of years as the

foreign banks leave our

foreign banks leave our shores,

given the issues in the various

homes. And of course that mid-tier banking sector has

been taken out. And that means

the major banks here are likely

to continue to push up interest

rate margins which were witled

away by fierce competition

during the early part of this

decade. For a look at the day

on the markets, I spoke earlier

to Martin Lakos at Macquarie

private health

private health wealth. The day

after the night before, was

there much reaction to the

Budget? Not specific reactions

but certainly there are

definitely implications going

forward. I guess with the

biggest part of that that we

see is the fact that having

moved from a structural surplus

to a temporary deficit, the

Government's now going to be in

the position of having to issue

substantially government bonds.

Last year they issued Last year they issued about $4

billion worth, it's estimated

they will issue $300 billion

between now and 2014. So there

are some beneficiaries in the

stock market for that. One of

those companies is ASX, which

owns 100% of the futures

exchange. And there will be a

lot more activity in various de

rif tives and fut thaurs cover

interest rate type of

securities. So ASX should be a beneficiary over beneficiary over time. But this

will be by stealth more than

anything. What about other

stocks? Areas for example such

as building products, that sort

of thing? That is an obvious

one with the extension of the

home buyers grant, going

forward. And also obviously a

pick up by activity general ly

with low interest rates.

Clearly we would be focusing on

Boral in the building material,

CSR and cement. Also the follow on from

on from that is first home

buyers who are renovating or

buying new home also want to

furnish those homes. So the

likes of Harvey Norman, David

Jones and Fantastic Furniture

will do quite well. To you an

idea of,000 share prices form,

Harman saw $1.80 was down nine

today. David Jones is

today. David Jones is stead and

among the building material,

Boral, is down 11. But like

harmy it's rallied very hard.

CSR is up to $1.47 and

Stockland Group steady wile

while it's raising the money.

But clearly it has big exposure

to new home buildings. When

that comes off suspension following its capital following its capital raising

we expect that to form

reasonably wells will. If we

look at what happened on the market today, it's been now

three days in the row the

market has been down. Are you

prepared to tall kaul the the

end of recent rally or is that

being a little too gloomy? A

bit too gloom y. We're down 1

00 points from the high.

Certainly there's been a lot of discussion whether this is a

bear market rally but it does

really start to appear that

maybe this is in fact might be

the beginning of a bull market.

Certainly we expect the mark to

pull back a little bit in the

short term. But really there is

some pretty hard evidence if

you look at every recession

since 1960, the Australian

economy has rebounded in a V

shape form. A rebound from its

lows. We really see no reason

for that to be any different

this time round. So markets are

re acting more pussive toly.

And here in Australia almost every commentary is stating our

recession will be a shallow one

and we will see a rebound

probably towards the end of

this year, early 2010. This is

one out of the box - Graincorp

has issued a profit upgrade.

That is a rarity, isn't it? It

is. It's interesting you is. It's interesting you

mention that because the ratio

between downgrades and upgrades

at its worst in February/March

was five to one. Now that is

now running at two to one but

clearly there is not as much

information coming into the

market yet as we start to get

the confession season and the

reporting season for post 30

June. We expect ratio to start

to head towards positive territory around the territory around the December

half. So that is another key

criefer for the market. Nice to

see a company can deliver positive news to the

market. Thank you for joining us. Pleasure. To the other

major mover s on the market


Queensland's coal seam gas

industry continues to attract

offshore investor s. BG Group

has signed a pro visional

20-year agreement to supply

liquid national gas to Chinese giant China National Offshore

Oil Corporation. The coal seam

gas to LNG project has been

considered by the British-based

BG which bought the Queensland

fields last year for fields last year for $awell. -

$5 billion. A final investment

decision is expected next year

and if it goes ahead, BG will

start shipping gas from 2014.

The rush to raise capital

continues to gather pace with

listed property group Stockland

looking to boost its balance

sheet by up to $2 billion. It's

a second time in seven months

Stockland has tapped investors

for cash, with real estate

trusts among the hardest hit by the

the glnk. Andrew Robertson

reports. Last October,

Stockland raised $300 million

from shareholders. Now the

company is hoping for another

$2 billion and analysts such as

the intelligent investors Greg

Hoffman have no doubt why. We

think that the drive ing force

behind all these capital

raisings in the property trust

sector is the Banks. The banks are forcing these property

themselveses companies because the banks

themselveses are overexposed,

they're forcing them to raise

capital where they can to

reduce their gearing ratios. According to Stockland's latest full year

results, the company had total

dents of $6.2 billion and

shareholder equity of $8.5

billion which meant its debt to

equity ratio was a high 73%.

Like most other listed property

trusts, Stockland borrowed

heavily to expand when asset prices were

prices were rising, conditions

now are very different. The

company bit off more than it

could chew in the boom times by

ex panged and setting itself up

for a potential takeover of a

group like GPT and now the

conditions are worsen tanged

group needs to shore up its

balance sheets. Stockland's

boom time expansion saw its

property portfolio grow to

nearly $15 billion with more

than half in commercial

property. In a staiding update

to the market last month,

Stockland chief executive

Matthew Quinn admitted mistakes

had been made. So far this

year, an estimated $20 billion

has been raised by companies

looking to strengthen their

balance sheets, with Stockland

being the third big share issue

in the last week after Santos

and GPT. Commsec chief

economist Craig James believes

it augers well for the future. We're starting to see

the thawing of the credit

markets. We're starting to see

the wheels turn a little bit

more. It is a case that

businesses are saying we still

have to make money and looking

for the opportunities out there. And Craig James adds there's a reason why

institutions in particular are

finding the share market

attractive again. In Australia,

we have a cash rate of 3%, in other parts of the world it's

close to zero. Those sorts of

very low nominal rates you're

not going to make a lot of

money on, particularly with

inflation up around 2%. So you

have to be looking to take on a

little bit more risk to get the

return that you want. But

companies like Stockland are

doing the opposite and rushing

to take risk out of their

balance sheets now because

no-one is certain the recent

share market rally will last.

business Building materials an sugar

business CSR has reinforced how tough conditions have been in

recent months, delivering an

annual net profit after

write-down s and restructuring

charges down a massive $284 -

284% before one-offs the result

was down 30% $134 million.

Highest prices for sugar

couldn't offset the weak

building and aluminium sectors.

But CEO Gerry Maycock says

things may be on the turn. He

joined me in the studio earlier

this evening. Gerry Maycock, welcome to Lateline

Business. Thank you. A massive

4-- full year loss if you

include the restructuring and

the asset write Downs an not so

good even if you don't, though

the market was well warned. Do

you think you're now over the

worst of this It? Certainly

that is the emerging sense we

had in the last month or had in the last month or two.

It was a difficult year end but

we certainly get the sense now

that the lead ing indicators in

the building and aluminium

and sugar business has already businesses are looking stronger

been moving on quite well. So

that is certain ly emerging

sense that we have that we

might but b through the

worst. Take me through these

leading indicators? What are

you referring to? In building

products we're seeing the

finance approvals now finance approvals now starting

to gain some reasonable

momentum and also the dwelling

approvals. We expect that to

translate by the second half of

our financial year into higher

product sales as well. In

aluminium it's really mainly

about the metal price, which

has lifted off the floofr that

we experienced in January. And

a lot of the input costs which

were all related have started

to come down. These are as all

pos tifrz indicators from our

point of view. Positive

indicators but the phrase you

used today was a qualified

cautious and modest optimism.

Is that the optimism you have

when you're really not sure? Ic

it's - it beats the straight

out pessimism that we had a

couple of months ago and we are

cautious because there are a

lot of moving parts. We don't

want to be guilty of declaring

victory prematurely because

there are a lot of risks still

out there. But when we talk to

our customers an we look at

these leading indicators we

think there is room for

cautious optimism now. You say

you're seeing some sign that the Government stimulus

packages are starting to work.

Dids does it surprise you that

it's taken this long? The the

first home owners grant was increased back in

October? That's right. It

certainly didn't get a lot of

traction before Christmas and

our sense is that people went

away on holiday and thought

about it and it was only really

when they returned from holiday

they decided this was a good

opportunity. I think that

together with the lower

interest rates have just hit us

a sweet spot with first home

owners, first home buyers. And,

you know, I think that the

you know, I think that the overall affordability equation

is improving. The buy versus

rent decision, that equation is

improving and what we really

need now is a greater level of

confidence to flow through the

rest of the market so we can see the first home owner

section but the rest of the

housing market lift as well. In

terms of the other terms of the other

stimuli, The rebate has

started to gather some serious

momentum now. We can actually

see that in product sales. And

we can also start to see the

early signs of things like the

school building program also

hitting the builder s desks and

eventually it will hit our desk

as well. So your optimism is

well found and all you're seeing if it comes

seeing if it comes to fruition

ition - fruition, how quickly

will will this bounce happen? How quickly will they

reboibd? Our sense that that by

second half of our financial

year, and we have a March

financial year, we should be

starting to see some of these

effects flow through into

product sales. The rate at

which in flows and the

magnitude of the increase magnitude of the increase is

really unknown. And I think

that's what we just have to

wait and see. It will be the

second half of our financial

year, so late this calendar

year and then we should be some

serious momentum. As you know

in the Budget last night the Government forecast a squeezing

of the economy and a decline in

growth. But a really rapid

recovery by

recovery by 2011-12, 4.5%

growth. Do you share that optimism? We don't try to look

that far ahead at the moment,

to be quite honest. I think

that it is really hard to see

more than a few months a head

at present. Certainly if you

get those GDP growth rates, we

will certainly see a bounce of

some magnitude in the housing

sector. Do you think it's possible?

possible? I know that you can't

call it but you do obviously

look ahead and you have to have

some forward tore

forecast. We've got forecast.

We've probably been blojonned

into being more conservative in

our forecasting over the last

couple of years but we

certainly have scenarios - Is

4.#r5 5% growth in 2011 one of

them? That would be the very

top end of our scenario planning and we would planning and we would be

delighteded if it comes about

and we will be in a position in

the business that we will be

able to respond to such growth opportunities arise. We've been

putting a lot of money back

into our businesses over the

last two or three years and

that program is nearly

complete. So we're equip ed to

respond to that if and when it

comes and that is the beauty of

our leverage to the cycle that

we will be able to create a lot

of value when the of value when the demand returns. I know that as recently as last October,

November, you were talking

about adding graul vaul to the

group by dividing it up in some

way, given that sugar has been your sweet spot through this

very difficult time. Are you

extraordinarily pleased that

you stayed as one diversified company? There are certainly

times when it's a benefit to

have some diversity and even if

we can't claim there's a

strong, you know, degree strong, you know, degree of logic behind the combination of

businesses we have, when times

are tough yes it's nice to have

that diversity. And too early

to think about not having that diversity? I think that we need

to see the market stabilise

both capital d, both the equity

and net capital markets. We

need to see them stabilise and

then we will have another look

at that question and see if we

can create more value by

restructuring the business. restructuring the business.

Right now we're hunkered down

and looking for improvements in

markets. Gerry Maycock, thanks

for talking to us. Thank, Ali.

As we heard earlier, the

Federal Government will embark

on the largest bond program in

history to fund its Budget

deficits to 2015. The move has

the potential to change

markets. As institutions shift

Desley Coleman reports. their investment strategies.

Desley Coleman reports. In an

attempt to plug the hole left

by shrinking tax revenue, the

Government is on a bond writing

spree. Bonds on issue will jump

from $70 billion this year to

an estimated $300 billion by

2000 123. The Government will

come back - 2013: The

Government will come back as

the primary issuerer. And the primary issuerer. And bonds

will dominate. On top of that

you have Government guaranteed

bank bonds and state Government

bonds. It's very significant

structural changes in the bond

market here. Stephen Halmarick from Colonial First State says

the new bond issues will feed

into current market appetite

for triple A rated

investments. The big increase

going forward I think we will

probably test markets a bit

more so you're likely to see more so you're likely to see

some increase perhaps a change

in yield curve but offshore

sloers be attracted to

Australian bonds. Today the

Commonwealth's debt manager,

the Australian Office of

Financial Management, revealed

that it will need to borrow a

record $60 billion over the

next year. They have told us

issuing mainly today that they are going to be

issuing mainly into their exist

ing bonds a longer bond, but

they have only really flagged

that they might look at some

alternative funding sources

that being longer term bonds,

15, 20 even 30-year bonds and

potentially re-establishing the

index bond market. One thing

it's quite clear they're going

to focus their issue in A

dollars an there is no hint dollars an there is no hint

they will be going into foreign

currency to raise money. But

bonds are only one part of the

fixed income market. There were

some recent glim ers in the

non-bond market with a trig ing

of new corporate issues being

done. We've gone from a

situation where late last year

corporate bond markets globally

were effectively shut to a

position now where there is

grade corporate strong demand for investment

grade corporate issuance and

even some life in the high

yield market. Players in other

fixed income markets such as

mortgage backed securities are concerned the increased

agentivity among corporate and

government bonds could crowd

croud them out. I think it is

very important that confidence

is rebuilt in the broader debt

markets which I think is

starting to be seen. And that will then

will then lead to a greater

window of opportunity for

Australian issuers to come back

into the market to finance not

only home loans through

mortgage-backed securityisation

but other asset classes as

well. We are in a period of

retear pare in the capital

markets. And the fact that governments all around the

world are having to issue so

many bonds risks slowing that

normal idesation process down,

and extending the process of

repair for capital markets

which could well take some

years now. As will repairing

damaged economies. News out of

China is challenging one of the

Federal Budget's key

assumptions that growth in the

third biggest economy will

protect Australia from a long

recession. Factory output

slowed last month, reinforce

ing concerns that a recovery is

wasn't all yet to take hold. But the news

wasn't all bad. Chinese

consumers are pick up some of

the slack with March retail

sales beating expectations. Now

a look tomorrow's business


Now a look at wh es what's

making news in the business

section of the papers.:

That's all for tonight. As I

Lee you the FTSE is trading

down 63 points or 1.4%. The Dow

futures are down 127 points or

- 1.5%. I'm Ali Moore.

Goodnight. Closed Captions by CSI

What a load of old cobblers.

(MUTTERS AS HE READS) MOBILE RINGS Hello, Cath. 'Why?' Where are you? and you're not answering. Well, I'm at the flat I'm not at the flat. I'm working. Is something wrong? 'No, but I do need to see you.' can I come to you now? Look, can I um... (SIGHS) Yeah. Jump in quick.

I brought you a coffee. Cheers. God, it's been a while since I've been in here. what I've done with the place? Yeah. Do you like It's very nice.

Lovely. Raisin Danish.

Right, what's the matter? You're going to get married, right? In time. And you want me to be page boy (!) No. Sorry. It's bridesmaid or nothing for me. Vincent. I'm pregnant.

Just give me a minute and... ..I'll say congratulations. You said you didn't want kids.

I didn't. Not at the time. And now you do? Yeah.

When's it due? Well, thanks for telling me. We've only just found out. it doesn't look like Driscoll. Well, let's hope I'm sorry. It was a joke. No, it's not a joke, is it?

So, what's the job? This? Insurance. It's bin-man day. We're hoping to catch the fella with the arm he can't use. carrying a bag Was it planned? Yes. Sorry. It's none of my business. It was. You got scared. We tried for a month, remember? You kept forgetting to turn up. BEEP BEEP Back to the old drawing board.

Right, a question. It's a bit of a dilemma. Go on. Right. Young girl wins 1.5 million on the lotto. She's part of a syndicate.

That's her share, is it? That's her share. The syndicate, they throw a big party at the local boozer. When the party's in full swing, the girl ducks out of the bar and throws herself under a train. I've read about this. Is it a true story? Is this a job? Well, it could be. Cool.

Gillian, I want you to pull together any newsprint you can find. On the accident or the girl who died? All of it.

The accident, the girl, the syndicate, the train, the boozer. Any news or gossip you can find.

Gossip - I'm good at that. Her name's Andrea Kendall. When Gillian finds names, I want you and Robert to go and get addresses. I'll do the same with the client. Who is the client? Sheena Bennett. I've only spoken to her on the phone. Uh-huh.

And who is she? Well, she's a recent millionairess, part of the syndicate. I had a major crush on Sheena Easton once. Is that someone you went to school with, John? A singer. A pop person. She looked great in satin. Do you remember? Yeah, she did a duet with Prince. Did she?

Yeah. I didn't know that. What was it called?

# You've Got The Look BOTH: # You've got the look (CHUCKLES) Right, let's get to work. Come on.

CLAPS HANDS Miss Bennett? I'm Vincent. Vincent Gallagher. Call me Sheena.

All right. This is Beth. Hey, how are you? Sheena. Hi. Do you want to walk and talk or shall we go inside? Just a minute. I have to watch or he gets upset. Did you have a nice walk, Mal? Yes, thank you. Hi, Sheena. Thanks, Keith. Same time tomorrow? Cheers, Malcolm. Take care. Cheers. This is my brother, Malcolm. Mal, this is Mr Gallagher. All right, Mal? I'm Vincent. Nice to meet you. Vincent. Vincent Gallagher. Malcolm, I'm Beth. I work with Vincent.

Beth. Vincent Gallagher. Beth. Yeah. I'm the good-looking one (!) All right? We had to get out of the flat. The papers were banging on the door, morning and night. Weren't they, Mal? Yes, it was impossible to rest or sleep. You need between six and eight hours of sleep to function correctly.

That's where I've been going wrong. Vincent, I REALLY like tomato ketchup in a silver bowl. Got some photographs ready to show you. Some of the winners' party and one of the syndicate.

That's Andrea there. Hm... Malcolm took that one.

Pretty thing. Could be a good week for Manchester City to reverse their fortunes.

They're playing at home with a full squad, no injuries.

Deborah Finnigan. Me, Mal, Donny. Donny Watson. Statistically, it should be a home win. I'm a West Ham man, myself. Upton Park. The Hammers. Mm. Manchester City... Mal. Mal, I need to talk to Mr Gallagher. It's important. It's all right. Donny was Andrea's fiance.