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Costello decides and Gallop is happy

PETER Costello’s long awaited announcement on the future on Royal Dutch Shell’s bid on Woodside Petroleum has ended months of speculation on whether the takeover bid could proceed under Australia’s foreign investment guidelines.

However, the financial markets reacted decisively, with the Australian dollar losing US 1.6 cents immediately following the announcement.

Premier Geoff Gallop has welcomed it.

He said the State Government opposed the takeover because it was concerned that control of the North-West Shelf gas reserves would be moved overseas.

THE long nervous wait is also over for several members of the WA mining industry, who were released after being held hostage in a Turkish hotel.

The mining executives, including Portman Mining managing director Ian Burston, were in the Istanbul Swissotel Hotel for the 12th Iron Ore Symposium.



WOODSIDE Energy posted its first quarter production and sales performance figures this week, including record sales revenue of $606.8 million, an increase of $123.2 million from the corresponding quarter in 2000.

Woodside managing director John Akehurst said the result reflects continued good performance from the company’s existing assets in the North West Shelf Venture and from the Laminaria and Corallina oil fields in the Timor Sea.



AURORA GOLD may have some sympathy for the media attention Woodside Petroleum has received over the past few months after a television report suggested Aurora Gold is pulling out of Indonesia in reaction to political instability and lawlessness in the region.

Aurora Gold said it is continuing to successfully operate its flagship Mt Muro gold and silver mine in Kalimantan, the mainstay of its operations in Indonesia since 1994.

Aurora Gold managing director Alan Scott said the Mt Muro operation remained the group’s key asset. Last year it produced 253,250 gold equivalent ounces, underpinning a $5.264 million profit for the group.



TITAN RESOURCES has announced it will expand its research and development in biological metal recovery by taking a 2.5 per cent interest in the Nautilus Sea-X Group.

An unlisted marine mineral explorer, Nautilus Sea-X operates mainly in off-shore Papua New Guinea and is developing mining systems for the recovery of seafloor massive sulphide mineral deposits.

FROM sea to shore the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has bought Spacedev Australia back down to planet earth by putting a stop order on a prospectus dated 27 February 2001.

Spacedev sought to raise approximately $8 million to fund a range of space related enterprises, including selling small satellites in the Australian market and the development of sub orbital space tourism.

ASIC was concerned by Spacedev’s failure to disclose in the original prospectus that all funds would be transferred to related companies in Australia and the US.

THE State Government has appointed Ian Temby QC to conduct a Royal Commission into WA’s finance brokers scandal.

Premier Geoff Gallop said the appointment makes the Government confident the truth behind this major financial scandal will finally be exposed.

Cabinet has approved a two stage process for the appointment of the Royal Commission which had a budget of $5 million.

Mr Gallop claimed the inquiry would help investors recover money from those responsible for the scandal.



THE picket lines have disappeared and the bus drivers’ strike has come to an end following a last minute phone call from Premier Geoff Gallop to the Transport Workers Union.

The bus drivers have returned to work on the understanding that the Government will enter into high level talks to resolve the working conditions issue.



PRIME Minister John Howard has offered some hope to the big number of WA investors ensnared in tax minimisation schemes.

Mr Howard said the tax office would fund a test case to determine whether the tax effective schemes were a legal way to minimise tax.



A MERGER agreement between Brambles Industries’ industrial services unit and UK joint venture partner GKN plc has created a $19.8 billion company.

The company named Brambles Industries plc will look to raise capital to underpin major growth in the international arena.

This is the third proposed major merger involving an Australian company in less than six weeks.



IN a new chapter in the protracted negotiations surrounding the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre the 19,000 seat soccer stadium proposed as an add-on to Centre is in doubt after Perth Glory supremo Nick Tana decided to redevelop Leederville Oval.

WA Tourism Minister Clive Brown announced that the government would be proceeding with the stadium.

However Perth Glory was the most likely tenant for such a stadium.

Premier Geoff Gallop is concerned that football tickets at Subiaco Oval have become too expensive for many Western Australians.

Mr Gallop has claimed while there is a shortage of lower priced seats many of the expensive seats are left empty.

WA taxpayers have contributed $30 million to the redevelopment of Subiaco Oval and the WA Football Commission should provide more low priced tickets Mr Gallop said.

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