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Merger as Aussies collapse

THE biggest story in Australia’s corporate history occurred this week with the announced merger of Australian mining giant BHP with London’s Billiton plc. The creation of the $58 billion giant makes BHP Billiton the biggest diversified resources company in the world, outranking Anglo American and Rio Tinto. Many are pointing to Paul Anderson as the man who saved BHP from financial disaster after failed projects and bad management decisions resulted in the share price going as low as $12. This week it was trading at more than $21.

The market capitalisation of the biggest (present) Australian company is the National Australia Bank valued at $44 billion followed by Telstra at $42.5 billion.

WEST Aussies were left wondering what had happened to the Australian cricket team following its sudden fall from grace in India – a defeat that brought an end to the long run of wins.

Opening batsman Matthew Hayden was the only one who could hold his head up high after scoring a double century. Western Australian Adam Gilchrist again fell lbw for the third time in the series and has made only one run since he scored 122 off 112 balls in the first Test.

THE Australian dollar was another casualty falling below the US50 cent mark for the first time in history. The drop left politicians pondering on what could be done to arrest the drop. Both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer were perplexed by the drop saying that the fundamentals of the Australian economy remained sound. Nobody is willing to guess just how low the Australian dollar could fall with a lot depending on the strength of the US dollar.

WESFARMERS Landmark has been launched as the new brand name of the merged Wesfarmers Dalgety and IAMA businesses. The name change comes four months after the merger.

Managing director Richard Goyder said that Wesfarmers Landmark united the two businesses under one banner and created a dynamic new company in Australian agribusiness. The new entity will have representation in over 400 rural and regional centres.

AS part of its growth strategy, WA’s most popular and recognisable hospitality group, Miss Maud, today announced it would expand its operations by offering fran-chises to complement the outreach of its company-owned stores.

Miss Maud will initially offer franchises in Perth, later followed by Sydney. The Miss Maud Hospitality Group operates 18 coffee houses across the Perth metropolitan area, two smorgasbord restaurants, a boutique hotel and employs 600 people.

A FREMANTLE - based developer and global supplier of advanced integrated technology for maritime applications is set to move to a world leadership position as a specialised naval defence contractor with the announcement today of its acquisition of a US operator.

The purchase of the US-based MariPro will see the expanded Nautronix Group set to emerge as the dominant supplier in global markets of underwater acoustic ranges, which are critical in naval operations. Nautronix is a preffered supplier to the Royal Australian Navy, while MariPro was the preferred supplier to the US Navy.

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