27/10/2016 - 06:35

Morning Headlines

27/10/2016 - 06:35

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Morning Headlines

United front in war on populism

Telstra chairman John Mullen has called for a unified approach by big business to defend against growing community hostility, and has condemned former Future Fund chairman David Murray for his ‘‘disgraceful’’ attack on the telecommunication giant’s record under his predecessor Catherine Livingstone. The Fin

Inflation spike dims hopes of interest rate cut

Prospects of a Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cut are receding after a spike in headline inflation spurred hopes the worst of the nation’s post-boom disinflationary cycle is passing. The Fin

Gold Fields CEO tips aggressive gold M&A

The chief of South Africa’s Gold Fields says global gold majors are likely to embark on an ‘‘aggressive’’ buying spree and consider consolidation as the sector’s pipeline of future projects diminishes due to a sustained decline in significant discoveries. The Fin

Russo misses Target in turnaround strategy

New Wesfarmers department stores boss Guy Russo says he ‘‘moved too fast’’ to restructure Target but is confident the ailing discount department store chain will eventually return to profitability. The Fin

$1.2bn lost to environmental ‘lawfare’

Environmental groups’ legal challenges to development projects ranging from dams and roads to coalmines are estimated to have cost the economy up to $1.2 billion — an amount that is rising as more “vexatious and frivolous” claims are made. The Aus

Electricity sell-off ‘may net $16bn’

The privatisation of Western Australia’s poles and wires network could reap $16 billion for the debt-laden state government, and the timing for a sale is “optimal”, given the rapid technological changes in the energy sector, a new report says. The Aus

Copper talk all in the past for Doray

Doray Minerals managing director Allan Kelly is sick of people talking about native copper when they discuss WA’s newest high-grade gold mine. The West

 

 

The Australian Financial Review

Page 1: Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure has rebuffed accusations it resisted calls to improve the maintenance of its rides despite claims of concerns being repeatedly raised in the lead up to the tragic incident that caused the deaths of four people.

Telstra chairman John Mullen has called for a unified approach by big business to defend against growing community hostility, and has condemned former Future Fund chairman David Murray for his ‘‘disgraceful’’ attack on the telecommunication giant’s record under his predecessor Catherine Livingstone.

Coles’ seven year run of strong market share gains is at risk of coming to an end unless Australia’s second largest supermarket chain steps up price reductions to head off a recovery at Woolworths.

Page 2: The Reserve Bank of Australia’s top technology executive has said the central bank’s networks are being probed by potential hackers every two seconds and that almost 70 percent of the emails received by RBA addresses are malicious.

Page 3: Chinese authorities have detained two junket agents, with strong links to Australian casinos, as they attempted to flee across the Hong Kong border, just days after 18 Crown Resorts staff were taken into custody on the mainland.

Gambling machine maker Aristocrat Leisure and casino operator Crown Resorts are facing a test case aimed at stopping the operation of their popular Dolphin Treasure pokie machines.

Page 4: Prospects of a Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate cut are receding after a spike in headline inflation spurred hopes the worst of the nation’s post-boom disinflationary cycle is passing.

Page 5: Nick Xenophon has not ruled out supporting more-generous company tax cuts down the track but insisted the government first meet his demands to provide direct assistance to business in his home state of South Australia.

A week after declaring his position untenable, Family First senator Bob Day may not be quitting politics at all. As Labor and the government squabble over whether he should be allowed to linger until Christmas to vote for the Coalition’s industrial relations legislation and for a same-sex marriage plebiscite, the South Australian senator has indicated he may now serve his full three-year term.

Page 6: The growing dominance of big corporations in Australia has outpaced the United States, with revenue earned by the top 100 listed businesses accounting for almost half of the economy – up from 15 per cent two decades ago, according to the nation’s competition watchdog.

Page 7: The $5 increase in Australia’s international departure tax, introduced by Treasurer Scott Morrison to help pay for a lower backpacker tax and placate angry Nationals MPs, is a $700 million cash grab that breaches Australia’s international aviation obligations, the travel industry has complained.

Page 9: Struggling regions like Melbourne’s west need targeted skills and industry policies to help them avoid becoming dormitory suburbs for workers at fast-growing central city firms and industries with few jobs for unskilled locals, economists say. Similarly disadvantaged city regions include Adelaide’s northeast, western Sydney and post-mining collapse Perth and Brisbane, posing a challenge for ‘‘cities policy’’ that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull embraced before the election.

ASX-listed BrainChip, which develops futuristic technology to enable artificial intelligence within technology systems, has raised $5.4 million in a capital raising the company said was over-subscribed.

Page 10: Dividend imputation is hurting Australia’s efforts to create more national champions in business and should be offered up as a bargaining chip to pay for company tax cuts, business leaders say.

Page 11: The chairwoman of insurance giant IAG has revealed the company’s board decided expanding into China was simply ‘‘too expensive and too risky’’.

Remuneration of Australia’s top business leaders needs a ‘‘re-think, not a tinkering around’’, because of its complexity and the unintended consequences of public disclosure and long-term incentives, the new chairman of Telstra, John Mullen, says.

Page 14: Send us your construction workers, your care givers, your store clerks – but for a limited time only. That’s the message from Japan, where the number of foreign workers, though still relatively small, has nearly doubled over eight years, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party is considering policies to speed up arrivals.

Page 15: Renewable energy reached an important turning point last year with record new installations of emissions-free power surpassing sources that burn fossil fuel, according to the International Energy Agency.

Page 17: The chief of South Africa’s Gold Fields says global gold majors are likely to embark on an ‘‘aggressive’’ buying spree and consider consolidation as the sector’s pipeline of future projects diminishes due to a sustained decline in significant discoveries.

A five-year research project by a senior finance academic into the drivers of bank wholesale funding costs mathematically proves the message banks have been trying to send in recent months: the cash rate does not drive the wholesale funding costs.

Page 19: Arrium administrators KordaMentha have been given the green light by a Federal Court judge to shuffle assets in and out of the various entities inside the collapsed group, to try to maximise returns to creditors.

Australian icons Paul Hogan, Olivia Newton-John and Shane Warne will lead Seven West Media’s strategy to fight for local audiences in 2017.

The $5 billion Argo Investments has been bottom-feeding in the unloved aged-care sector on the ASX, ploughing $30 million into the pariah of the sector, Estia Health.

Page 20: Superannuation funds with less than $5 billion of assets are being unfairly targeted in the debate over whether small retirement schemes are servicing their members adequately, the chief executive of one small fund argues.

ASX boards and their investment banking advisers are collectively breathing a sigh of relief after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on entitlement offers.

Page 21: The Turnbull government’s proposal for a new banking tribunal has raised the ire of small lenders, who warn the costs of financial services will rise if disputes become more legalistic and competition between the two existing schemes is eliminated.

Page 22: Transgrid chief executive Paul Italiano has blamed the regulatory system for Australia’s below-par performance in the deployment of utility-scale electricity storage, in stark contrast to keen consumer interest in batteries.

New Wesfarmers department stores boss Guy Russo says he ‘‘moved too fast’’ to restructure Target but is confident the ailing discount department store chain will eventually return to profitability.

Page 23: Telstra and Optus are unlikely to take over an Australian broadcaster, but they will seek to use their considerable financial firepower to grab more valuable content.

Page 24: Investors in all kinds of assets should brace for the ‘‘revenge’’ of economic fundamentals in 2017 as central banks slow their money printing and markets go back to comparing economies on their rates of growth.

A company that makes a high-tech carbon material used by the United States Navy, aerospace firm Northrop Grumman and the commercial spaceflight arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group soared on its ASX debut.

Rare earths miner Lynas has been thrown a lifeline by its lenders that chief executive Amanda Lacaze says will provide the company with a longer runway to manage its $US428 million ($556 million) debt pile.

UGL’s troubled power plant venture for INPEX’s Ichthys LNG project is laying off 460 workers in Darwin as the engineering group battles a hostile takeover from construction group CIMIC.

Page 31: Solid Chinese fundamentals not speculative buyers are behind this week’s sharp jump in the iron ore price, which leapt to 11-week highs on Tuesday.

The bottom of the mining sector has given way to green shoots in the downtrodden parts of the economy and there is plenty of race to run for resources stocks. Consensus is growing that the bottom of the mining downturn has passed – a view shared by Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest.

Page 33: The shareholders of diversified property group Stockland rallied behind the group’s strong 2015-16 results, and equally strong first-quarter numbers, at its annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Page 34: A revised $827 million Charter Hall Long WALE REIT is preparing to float on November 8 after its joint lead managers UBS and JPMorgan moved to underwrite a reduced capital raising this week.

Charter Hall has won approval for a $240 million transformation of the retail centre at Perth’s Raine Square, which will include a new cinema complex. The project includes refurbishment of the Royal and Wentworth heritage buildings, a new hotel tower on the corner of Murray and Wellington streets, and a revitalisation of the food hall.

Page 39: Mark Ford, former head of DEXUS Property Group predecessor DB Real Estate Australia, will rejoin the group as an independent non-executive director.

Scentre, the owner and operator of the Westfield shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand, has bought the Innaloo Cinema Complex in Perth from Challenger LIfe for $48.1 million.

 

 

The Australian

Page 1: A Queensland safety inspector who repeatedly raised concerns about maintenance at Dreamworld four years ago, warned the theme park operators they were risking safety on many of the rides.

Environmental groups’ legal challenges to development projects ranging from dams and roads to coalmines are estimated to have cost the economy up to $1.2 billion — an amount that is rising as more “vexatious and frivolous” claims are made.

Australia’s competitive advantage from low-cost energy “looks gone for all money”, the head of a powerful industry group has warned, singling out South Australian firms as “extremely distressed” by enormous price increases in renegotiated electricity contracts.

Financial penalties imposed on the construction union and its officials for breaking the law have barely made a dent in its assets and cash base of almost $90 million.

Page 2: Replacing stamp duty with land tax would create 23,000 jobs, according to economic modelling, as Scott Morrison welcomed a debate about housing affordability and state taxes.

Page 4: Nick Xenophon has got it wrong on a company tax cut only for firms with revenue of less than $10 million a year, Adelaide exporter Con Manias says.

Malcolm Turnbull will step up the case for more dams and water projects across northern Australia, promising $440 million today during a tour across Queensland.

Page 6: The privatisation of Western Australia’s poles and wires network could reap $16 billion for the debt-laden state government, and the timing for a sale is “optimal”, given the rapid technological changes in the energy sector, a new report says.

Page 7: Two Sydney-based daughters of the late Perth tycoon Len Buckeridge are claiming that their share of his estate — worth about $90 million each — should be paid to them in cash rather than as shares in his privately held BGC construction empire.

Page 8: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has warned that the sale of Australian farmland to foreigners is threatening the nation’s patriotism and sovereignty.

Page 19: Wesfarmers shares sank nearly 6 per cent yesterday as its flagship retail business Coles faced a renewed supermarket battle with Woolworths and increased competition from Aldi to post its worst growth in grocery sales since 2009.

The world’s biggest free-trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Australian officials have written off as a casualty of a fierce anti-trade backlash in the US, has an almost even chance of success in Congress, according to sources in Washington DC.

Page 21: Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has defended NBN Co’s pricing mechanism, saying that the model should not be compared to the pricing models of existing access networks.

Consumers are set to come out on top in the frequent flyer wars between Qantas and Virgin Australia after the ultra-competitive aviation market shifted gears yesterday in a bid to convince customers to fly with them and their loyalty programs.

Page 22: Santos has started what is believed to be more widespread cuts under new managing director Kevin Gallagher at the embattled oil and gas company, adding to the 253 cuts in the first half of the year and 825 last year.

Page 23: Clydesdale Bank is nearing its first acquisition since being spun off by National Australia Bank, confirming interest in buying The Royal Bank of Scotland’s subsidiary Williams and Glyn.

Page 24: Apple has posted its first annual revenue decline in 15 years, but projected a return to growth in the current quarter behind strong sales of its new iPhone 7.

Few beer-industry insiders expected the Coors family to be the last American brewing dynasty left in the business after consolidation reduced the industry to a handful of big players.

AT&T will charge just $US35 a month for its internet-delivered television service DirecTV Now when it launches next month, said chief executive Randall Stephenson, pointing to it as an example of how prices won’t rise as a result of its $US85.4 billion ($112.2bn) acquisition of Time Warner.

 

 

The West Australian

Page 10: WA Labor promised a non-stop rail service to Bunbury and to revive plans for a new fast train and CBD station for the regional city under a $50 million blitz of South West seats yesterday.

Premier Colin Barnett will go to the March election with the second worst credit rating in the nation with warnings it could get worse in the face of a tough economy that strips money from the Budget.

Page 11: Treasurer Mike Nahan says the Government will explain to voters exactly what sort of infrastructure projects it intends to fund with the sale proceeds of a Western Power privatisation.

Page 15: Building and construction costs in WA have fallen by more than 25 per cent in the past year, with some tradies even “buying” jobs to ensure a continued cash flow.

Page 16: City of South Perth has voted to set aside $60,000 for a fighting fund to investigate options to appeal against the controversial 34-storey Lumiere at 74 Mill Point Road.

Page 18: More signs of tension have emerged between WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls and Federal leader Barnaby Joyce, with Mr Grylls lampooning the Deputy Prime Minister’s stance on foreign investment.

Page 49: Doray Minerals managing director Allan Kelly is sick of people talking about native copper when they discuss WA’s newest high-grade gold mine.

Grain handler CBH has given more details of the toll frost damage has taken on this year’s crop, drastically revising down its estimated harvest total from an expected bumper 15-17 million tonnes to a likely 13-14 million tonnes.

About 40 staff who bought into the float of VEEM are sitting on a quick profit after the precision engineering company’s strong debut yesterday.

Page 50: The sea wall separating a mothballed iron ore mine on Cockatoo Island from environmentally sensitive waters off north-west WA is at risk of collapse, after the liquidators of Pluton Resources had to turn off the pumps that keep the pit from filling with sea water.

The head of the competition watchdog has raised fears mergers of big companies will leave everyday consumers worse off, signally support for making it much tougher for firms to combine.

Dan Daniels is set to become Toxfree Solutions’ biggest individual shareholder after its $186 million deal to buy his medical waste business Daniels Health Australia.

Page 51: Carnegie Wave Energy claims it is set to become “a powerhouse” in the renewable energy sector after paying $13 million to help it take control of local solar success story Energy Made Clean.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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