10/10/2008 - 07:00

Today's Business Headlines

10/10/2008 - 07:00

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Pilbara on brink of industrial war; Barnett ponders power synergy; $6bn Western Power upgrade in doubt; States file 'weak' $235bn project wish-list; HBOS loses $1.1bn on BankWest as Commonwealth takes cake

Today's Business Headlines

Pilbara on brink of industrial war
The Pilbara iron ore industry appears set for a return to the industrial warfare of 20 years ago, with a union log of claims revealing it wants drivers placed on driverless trains and softer drug testing rules, as Rio Tinto threatened to sue the union over the planned strike tomorrow. The West

Barnett ponders power synergy
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett is considering merging the state's troubled electricity generator, Verve Energy, with retailer Synergy, and describes the break-up of Western Power under the former Labor government as a financial disaster that will contribute to soaring electricity prices next year. The Fin Review

$6bn Western Power upgrade in doubt
Colin Barnett has cast doubt on Western Power's plan for a $6 billion upgrade of its ageing network, describing the proposed capital works as "extraordinarily aggressive". The West

States file 'weak' $235bn project wish-list
The states have pitched more than $235 billion of projects seeking federal support to the new national infrastructure agency but many of the requests seem likely to be sent back for more rigorous cost-benefit analysis. The Fin Review

HBOS loses $1.1bn on BankWest as Commonwealth takes cake
HBOS is set to book a £440 million ($1.1 billion) loss and write off £250 million of goodwill on the sale of BankWest to Commonwealth Bank, adding weight to analysts' assessments of the $2.1 billion deal as the steal of the century. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Pilbara iron ore industry appears set for a return to the industrial warfare of 20 years ago, with a union log of claims revealing it wants drivers placed on driverless trains and softer drug testing rules, as Rio Tinto threatened to sue the union over the planned strike tomorrow.

The unprecedented trillion-dollar bailouts by the US and British governments and a raft of interest rate cuts around the world finally appeared to be having a settling effect on global markets last night after London's FTSE and New York's Dow Jones index pared their losses to about 1 per cent after trading in positive territory for much of the day.

Page 3: WA's multi-million-dollar apple export industry is under threat from a weevil commonly found in native eucalypt forests and blue gum plantations.

Page 4: The long-awaited discussion paper on the building industry inspectorate paves the way for Federal Industrial Relations Minister Julia Gillard to bow to union pressure and muzzle the powerful watchdog.

Page 6: Kevin Rudd has proclaimed the strength of the Australian economy and its financial system as new figures show the first signs of the global financial crisis hitting the nation's job market.

Page 7: Farmers battling to recover from drought have now been hit by falling wheat prices, which have dropped 20 per cent in the past fortnight as the global financial crisis reaches agricultural commodities.

Page 11: Coal tycoon Ric Stowe's $350 million Griffin Tower has joined a growing band of CBD skyscrapers of danger of being deferred indefinitely, with the credit squeeze and runaway construction costs casting doubt on the starting date.

The state government is looking for a new home for its departments of Premier and Cabinet and Treasury and Finance after negotiations for their new city offices collapsed yesterday.

Page 12: Colin Barnett has cast doubt on Western Power's plan for a $6 billion upgrade of its ageing network, describing the proposed capital works as "extraordinarily aggressive".

Business: Mt Gibson Iron yesterday sent fresh shockwaves through WA's already rattled mining sector after admitting some of its customers had asked for iron ore shipments from the Mid-West to be delayed because of slowing demand amid the global turmoil.

HBOS is set to book a £440 million ($1.1 billion) loss and write off £250 million of goodwill on the sale of BankWest to Commonwealth Bank, adding weight to analysts' assessments of the $2.1 billion deal as the steal of the century.

Cape Lambert Iron Ore executive chairman Tony Sage has struck a surprise peace with dissident shareholder Mick Shemesian that all but safeguards the cashed-ip WA miner's pursuit of a $US200 million ($288 million) Sierra Leone iron ore deal.

Administrators for the failed Lehman brothers Australia have secured $51 million from Nomura Holdings in a deal that means all of LBA's Australian-based staff become employees of the Japanese investment bank today.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The economic slowdown has now hit the employment market, adding to the pressure on household budgets and spurring speculation of further substantial interest rate cuts to revive demand.

The world's leading financial ministers and central bankers will meet in Washington tonight to galvanise support for an aggressive response to the global turmoil as markets remain on a knife-edge despite interest rates cuts and bank bail-outs.

Australia's emerging iron ore producers are expected to find it harder to sell their wares to China, as the collapsing steel price, shrinking demand and tightened lending from Chinese banks pushes some buyers to delay their shipment orders.

Page 3: The states have pitched more than $235 billion of projects seeking federal support to the new national infrastructure agency but many of the requests seem likely to be sent back for more rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

Page 4: West Australian Premier Colin Barnett is considering merging the state's troubled electricity generator, Verve Energy, with retailer Synergy, and describes the break-up of Western Power under the former Labor government as a financial disaster that will contribute to soaring electricity prices next year.

Page 11: Rio Tinto has attacked a planned campaign of industrial action by some train drivers at its Pilbara iron ore operations from tomorrow as disruptive and frustrating during a period of market uncertainty.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The states are demanding up to $23 billion in extra funding from the federal Government's already stretched surpluses before they sign on to the major agreements that form the backbone of Kevin Rudd's new federalism agenda.

The federal government is under growing pressure to follow the US and Europe and guarantee customer deposits and underwrite the solvency of Australia's major banks.

Page 2: Labor's successor to the Howard government's controversial building industry watchdog may be subject to stronger oversight and have its powers over building workers curtailed.

Kevin Rudd has refused to guarantee a boost for struggling pensioners in next year's budget.

Page 3: Australia has taken its first step towards regulation of nanotechnology, with a call for food companies to disclose if they are including in their products particles invisible to the naked eye.

Page 4: Highly-paid train drivers whose strike action will disrupt iron ore exports from the Pilbara are trying to portray themselves as underprivileged, according to a mining chief.

A crunch meeting of coal producers broke up yesterday without a solution to the bottlenecks at the port of Newcastle, north of Sydney, that are costing about $4 billion a year in lost export income.

Page 9: Iceland's descent into financial chaos accelerated last night as the Government took over a third bank -- the country's largest, Kaupthing -- and trading on its stock market was suspended until Monday.

Business: Nervous asset markets are yet to be convinced the massive efforts by central banks to revive the world economy are rare enough to restore the appetite for risk.

Fears heightened yesterday that China's demand for iron ore was slowing, after Mount Gibson Iron announced that its customers in the economic powerhouse wanted to delay shipments.

Concerns about a global slowdown are continuing to put metal prices under pressure.

Mounting public anger in Asia over soured investments in complex financial products tied to Lehman Brothers is fuelling a public backlash and calls for tighter regulation.

US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has played down the chances of the Group of Seven major economic powers unveiling a global plan to confront the widening financial crisis.

AMP has emerged as the favoured wealth manager for investors amid industry carnage in which IOOF Holdings lost 25 per cent of funds under management for the year, leaving its future at the mercy of the markets.

Gold futures are surging as investors seek shelter from the deepening financial sector turmoil in the aftermath of the overnight co-ordinated global interest rate cuts, and analysts expect the metal to continue attracting safe-haven buying.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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