26/02/2014 - 06:00

Morning Headlines

26/02/2014 - 06:00

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Morning Headlines

Qantas free to be sold offshore

The Abbott government is gearing up for a fierce political battle over the future of Qantas Airways after giving notice it intends to wash its hands of the airline by lifting the foreign ownership limits and other legal restrictions on the company. The Fin

Iron ore plunges to 7-month low

A senior executive at BHP Billiton has sounded a cautious note on Chinese iron ore demand, saying tighter credit conditions and environmental regulations would remain, as the key steel making commodity dropped to its lowest price in seven months. The Fin

Payouts on horizon as Atlas turns profit

Atlas Iron looks set to turn its mind towards debt repayments and increased dividends as it nears the end of its first growth phase in Western Australia’s Pilbara iron ore region. The Aus

Mirabela shareholders all but wiped in rescue

Mirabela Nickel shareholders will be all but wiped out by the recapitalisation agreed between the stricken company and its bond holders. The West

NBN’s $7bn bill for 3pc of network

Almost $7 billion of government funds have been ploughed into the National Broadband Network to complete just 3 per cent of the rollout and NBN Co’s much vaunted ‘‘Gigabit Nation’’ service does not have a single end-user customer. The Aus

Coles, Woolies fight ACCC over petrol

Woolworths and Coles will challenge the competition regulator in the Federal Court to defend their right to offer petrol discounts above 4¢ a litre, marking a fresh battle in the long-running war over the supermarkets’ petrol shopper docket schemes. The Fin

Walsh hints at hanging around after stellar debut year

After a stellar maiden year of cost-cutting and productivity gains, Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh has sent a strong message to his board that he wants to stay on longer than the three years he promised when he took the job. The Aus

WA boom creates big wealth gap

The mining boom made WA’s wealthiest people richer but left the State’s poorest well behind, a study has revealed. The West

 

 

The Australian Financial Review

Page 1: The Abbott government is gearing up for a fierce political battle over the future of Qantas Airways after giving notice it intends to wash its hands of the airline by lifting the foreign ownership limits and other legal restrictions on the company.

Industrial turmoil in NSW’s Hunter Valley coal region dramatically escalated after rail operator Aurizon vowed to lock out 200 drivers in retaliation for a three-day strike.

Page 3: Woolworths and Coles will challenge the competition regulator in the Federal Court to defend their right to offer petrol discounts above 4¢ a litre, marking a fresh battle in the long-running war over the supermarkets’ petrol shopper docket schemes.

Page 4: Tony Abbott has warned his MPs and Senators to expect increasing voter anxiety in the lead-up to the May budget which, he said, was posing a more formidable challenge than John Howard and Peter Costello’s first budget in 1996.

Bloated and rising apartment construction costs are playing a greater role in worsening the nation’s housing affordability crisis than red tape or access to mortgages, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Page 8: Whistle-blowers who have exposed alleged corruption in the construction union have been threatened with retribution if they co-operate with investigators as the federal government prepares to launch a national police taskforce to examine the construction sector.

Page 9: The Labor Party will not support a plan by Greens MPs to make the government go ahead with an auction of carbon credits.

Transfield Services has proven to be highly skilled in winning large federal government contracts over the past few years, snaring $2.3 billion of work on the National Broadband Network, home insulation rectifications, defence maintenance and now the contract to run the immigration centre on Manus Island.

Page 13: QBE Insurance Group chief John Neal has admitted the company had disappointed investors over the last few years and stressed steering the troubled insurance giant back to profitability and hitting earnings guidance targets will be his top priorities for 2014.

Page 15: Marine services provider Mermaid Marine plans to buy Singapore-based competitor Jaya for $550 million. The offshore oil and gas services company entered a trading halt on Tuesday morning pending the announcement.

Page 18: The board of the $100 billion Future Fund has appointed Paul Mann as acting managing director, having decided against combining the top job with the role of chief investment officer.

Page 20: A senior executive at BHP Billiton has sounded a cautious note on Chinese iron ore demand, saying tighter credit conditions and environmental regulations would remain, as the key steel making commodity dropped to its lowest price in seven months.

 

 

The Australian

Page 1: Almost $7 billion of government funds have been ploughed into the National Broadband Network to complete just 3 per cent of the rollout and NBN Co’s much vaunted ‘‘Gigabit Nation’’ service does not have a single end-user customer.

ABC managing director Mark Scott has signalled a dramatic shift in the way the national broadcaster publishes corrections and apologies after becoming embroiled in a series of controversies over the standard of its reporting and its refusal to admit mistakes.

Page 2: Clive Palmer’s gas tenements in Papua New Guinea — which he has claimed to be bigger than the North West Shelf — are likely to be reviewed following yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle in Port Moresby that removed his ally William Duma from his job as petroleum and energy minister.

Page 4: Tony Abbott has warned his colleagues to prepare for a voter backlash from tough spending cuts in the May budget amid a clear warning yesterday that the age pension is a priority target for change.

Childcare centre operators have warned that increasing the pay of their employees could have a ‘‘dramatic impact’’ on jobs and potentially flow into other industries.

Page 5: Disability support pensioners with a mental illness — the largest, fastest-growing group — are much more likely to be aged under 45 than those on the payment for all other conditions.

Page 6: The head of the Prime Minister’s indigenous council, Warren Mundine, says he does not believe reducing levels of indigenous incarceration should become a formal Closing the Gap target, despite the large number of Aborigines in jails being high on his agenda.

Page 17: Shell has extended its withdrawal from the Australian fuel sector by shelving a plan to build a liquefied natural gas supply chain for trucks, in a move that stymies a chance to boost Australia’s energy security as refineries close and oil production falls.

After a stellar maiden year of cost-cutting and productivity gains, Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh has sent a strong message to his board that he wants to stay on longer than the three years he promised when he took the job.

Page 19: The owners of radiology giant I-Med Network have scrapped plans for a public float, after receiving an offer for the business that is understood to have exceeded their original expectations.

Atlas Iron looks set to turn its mind towards debt repayments and increased dividends as it nears the end of its first growth phase in Western Australia’s Pilbara iron ore region.

China’s largest listed company in Australia, Yancoal Australia, is pushing aside tough conditions for thermal coal and seeking approvals for its new $120 million mine, arguing its low cost remains appealing in a difficult market.

 

 

The West Australian

Page 3: Big sharks caught on drum lines off WA’s coast have been powerful enough to straighten the hooks and even wrest themselves free from the chains designed to catch them.

Taxpayers are facing a bill of almost $23 million to stage the new WA Senate election, $10 million more than first estimated.

Page 6: Tony Abbott has attributed the Government’s sharp drop in the polls to public anxiety about a tough Budget but indicated the repeat WA Senate election will not deter him from making difficult decisions.

Every man, woman and child will wear a $23,000 debt within a decade, Treasurer Joe Hockey has warned, unless the Government uses the looming Budget to bring spending back under control.

Page 7: The Queensland and South Australian governments will adopt a ground-breaking program aimed at getting children off the couch and into nature after its success in WA.

Page 10: The mining boom made WA’s wealthiest people richer but left the State’s poorest well behind, a study has revealed.

Page 13: Western Power has again trimmed its operating costs while upping the rate of power pole reinforcements and replacements as chief executive Paul Italiano continues his bid to slim down the utility.

Page 16: Fresh details emerged yesterday of the extent of warnings within Government about delays to Fiona Stanley Hospital before the State election in March last year, when voters were promised a facility “on time and on budget”.

Business: Mirabela Nickel shareholders will be all but wiped out by the recapitalisation agreed between the stricken company and its bond holders.

A Subiaco-based maker of remote accommodation has gone under owing more than $14 million, most of it to a Singaporean private equity group.

Buoyed by a return to profitability and a sharp rising share price, Saracen Mineral Holdings has ditched plans to use debt to buy the Thunderbox gold project and instead rattled the tin for a $61.2 million equity raising.

BHP Billiton has suspended mining at its Yarrie iron ore operation, leaving the future of its Mt Goldsworthy rail line in doubt.

Woodside Petroleum has asked Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to overrule his department and order a lower level of scrutiny for a proposed seismic survey north of Exmouth.

Atlas Iron has given the green light to plans to double the output of its Mt Webber mine as the iron ore miner posted a $73.7 million first-half profit.

Australia’s biggest private hospitals operator, Ramsay Health Care, is planning more overseas expansion, particularly in Asia.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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