24/10/2008 - 06:51

Today's Business Headlines

24/10/2008 - 06:51

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Heat on Rudd as billions are frozen; Treasurer approves Westpac merger; ANZ's profit slumps 23 per cent on bad loans; Clough faces 'please explain' on $23m coal loss; GMAC pull-out hits car dealers

Today's Business Headlines

Heat on Rudd as billions are frozen
Pressure on Kevin Rudd's government over its bank deposit guarantee has escalated dramatically after three big financial institutions hit by a spate of withdrawals by customers froze their accounts last night, leaving billions of dollars in savings locked away. The West

Treasurer approves Westpac merger
Westpac has cleared the remaining regulatory hurdle to its proposed merger with St George Bank, after the federal government yesterday flagged through the $17 billion scrip deal. The Australian

ANZ's profit slumps 23 per cent on bad loans
ANZ chief executive Mike Smith declared yesterday the era of fast-paced profit growth was over for the banking industry, with the global credit crisis likely to take years to unwind. The West

Clough faces 'please explain' on $23m coal loss
Clough could face pressure from shareholders at its annual meeting today to explain its latest contract set-back after the Perth engineer's shares slumped 29 per cent on fears it may face a $23 million loss from an Indonesian coal project. The West

GMAC pull-out hits car dealers
Car dealers are headed for a shake-up after major financier GMAC Finance Services withdrew from the local market, citing pressures caused by the global credit squeeze. The Fin Review

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Pressure on Kevin Rudd's government over its bank deposit guarantee has escalated dramatically after three big financial institutions hit by a spate of withdrawals by customers froze their accounts last night, leaving billions of dollars in savings locked away.

Page 4: Colin Barnett refused to back down yesterday in his stalemate with Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, again failing to guarantee that he would spend the royalties for regions money in addition to funds already allocated to regional projects in the four-year budget forward estimates.

The state government has warned that construction of some publicly-owned houses could be put on hold and land acquisitions and developments could be suspended after claiming to have discovered a $235 million "black hole" in the Department of Housing and Works.

Page 5: A Perth-based goldminer faces a massive clean-up bill after 54kg of arsenic was released into a dam at its Swedish open-pit mine.

The company at the centre of the Esperance lead contamination scandal was forced to slash half the jobs at its lead mine near Wiluna yesterday, blaming the global financial crisis.

Page 6: The prospect of WA withstanding much of the global economic meltdown is getting bleaker almost by the day, with one of the country's leading forecasters today warning that commodity prices are likely to fall faster than expected as Chinese demand slows.

The top personal income tax rate should be cut to 40 cents in the dollar, the nation's peak business lobby has proposed under a plan that would also require states to give their valuable payroll tax collections.

Page 7: The growing dominance of big Australian wine producers means local wines are starting to taste the same, a leading Margaret Rive winemaker says.

Page 10: The global credit crisis has hurt the WA wool market, with local prices plunging to their lowest in two years as experts warned the situation could get worse by early next week.

Page 12: The mining union has instructed Pilbara rail drivers to follow safety procedures strictly by stopping trains every time they need to go to the toilet, get a coffee or do exercises to help them stay awake during their 12-hour shifts.

Business: ANZ chief executive Mike Smith declared yesterday the era of fast-paced profit growth was over for the banking industry, with the global credit crisis likely to take years to unwind.

Perth computer rental group Hire Intelligence has set the scene for a stoush with marketing company Q Ltd, calling for Q shareholders to block a proposed share consolidation at its annual meeting next week and slating it for underperforming.

Shares in Mt Gibson Iron were in a trading halt last night amid mounting speculation it was struggling to sell its iron ore and suffering a cash squeeze.

Clough could face pressure from shareholders at its annual meeting today to explain its latest contract set-back after the Perth engineer's shares slumped 29 per cent on fears it may face a $23 million loss from an Indonesian coal project.

Westpac and St George Bank have welcomed federal treasurer Wayne Swan's approval for their merger.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group chief executive Mike Smith said the worst of the credit crisis should subside by the end of the year but warned that the fallout would wash through the economy over the next few years.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Perpetual and AXA Asia Pacific yesterday led a freeze of $5.5 billion of investor savings as mortgage funds continued to suffer from being excluded from the federal government's deposit guarantee scheme.

Page 3: Car dealers are headed for a shake-up after major financier GMAC Finance Services withdrew from the local market, citing pressures caused by the global credit squeeze.

Page 4: Macarthur Coal chief executive Nicole Hollows has questioned the Queensland government's commitment to the coal industry, saying late delivery of infrastructure and increased regulation was hurting the country's reputation.

Page 5: Mediation talks between Australian and New Zealand Banking Group, Merrill Lynch and the liquidator of collapsed stockbroking firm Opes Prime have failed - meaning the "Armageddon scenario" of all-out litigation is now set to be unleashed.

Page 7: West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has conceded ground in his stand-off with state Nationals leader Brendon Grylls under the royalties deal that underpins their power-sharing alliance, but still refuses to guarantee he will deliver the entire $2.8 billion of regional funding pledged by the Nationals.

Markets: Heavy falls among commodity stocks and another messy session on Wall Street sent the Australian sharemarket tumbling back below the 4,000 point level.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan met the nation's top bankers last night for crisis talks on the global financial meltdown as turmoil sparked by the government's banking guarantee scheme deepened.

Page 5: Investment giants Perpetual, AXA and Australian Unity have frozen about $7 billion worth of funds owned by tens of thousands of investors as confusion over the federal government's financial intervention intensified yesterday.

Page 6: Business groups are divided over whether the Rudd government should bring down the 30 per cent company tax rate as part of its promised "root-and-branch" tax reform or concentrate on reforming personal taxation.

Business: ANZ has warned a new financial services industry will emerge from the financial "Armageddon", when banks will hold more capital, report lower shareholder returns and eventually cut their dividend payments.

Equities markets plunged again yesterday as investors remained sceptical that the coordinated global rescue package would jolt troubled financial markets on to a recovery path.

Rio Tinto has been forced to deny rumours that it is ready to enter talks with suitor BHP Billiton, sending its shares back on a lower trajectory compared with their predator's.

Westpac has cleared the remaining regulatory hurdle to its proposed merger with St George Bank, after the federal government yesterday flagged through the $17 billion scrip deal.

Indebted GPT Property Group has enraged shareholders, who have called for the removal of its board after attempts to recapitalise with a $1.6 billion unit issue and placement to Singapore's state-owned GIC Real Estate.

Struggling debt-laden investment group Babcock & Brown has officially begun the process of unwinding its business, which may lead to a break-up of the company.

China is set to take the upper hand and win back control in the next round of iron ore price negotiations, with plans to push for a new standardised system.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options