Today's Business Headlines

13/11/2008 - 06:42

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Petrol price cut demand snubbed; Banks start to wield job axe; WA Opes Prime case could be waste of time, bank claims; ABC plea for new bank lifeline; Struggling Rick Hart owner looks at all options

Today's Business Headlines

Petrol price cut demand snubbed
Defiant petrol companies have set themselves on a collision course with the consumer watchdog, refusing yesterday to guarantee that the would comply with a directive by the federal petrol commissioner to cut fuel prices at least three cents a litre by next week. The West

Banks start to wield job axe
The biggest round of job cuts in the Australian financial sector for more than a decade will be headlined by 2,000 sackings as a result of the Westpac-St George bank merger. The Australian

WA Opes Prime case could be waste of time, bank claims
A $150 million lawsuit brought by 67 clients against Opes Prime and its financiers takes "large slabs" of its argument from a similar case being run out of Melbourne, lacks sufficient evidence and could ultimately prove a waste of time, ANZ has told the Federal Court. The West

ABC plea for new bank lifeline
Receivers for ABC Learning Centres were last night seeking an urgent cash injection from the collapsed company's banks in a bid to keep 1,040 childcare centres open until the end of the year. The Fin Review

Struggling Rick Hart owner looks at all options
Rick Hart's self-branded electrical and whitegoods chain could find itself in the hands of a new owner, after its struggling listed parent, Clive Peeters, confirmed speculation it had offered itself up for sales. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Defiant petrol companies have set themselves on a collision course with the consumer watchdog, refusing yesterday to guarantee that the would comply with a directive by the federal petrol commissioner to cut fuel prices at least three cents a litre by next week.

Besieged Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore was embroiled in new controversy yesterday after he tabled a petition in Parliament on behalf of Liberal Part powerbroker Noel Crichton-Browne, which gave the lobbyist's response to an attack by Labor.

Page 3: The Rottnest Island Authority posted a $500,00 profit last year but failed to meet key targets for visitor satisfaction in accommodation, services and facilities, its 2007-08 annual report has revealed.

Page 6: One of the nation's most respected economists predicted yesterday that the Reserve Bank would have to slash official interest rates to an all-time low of 3.5 per cent within months, despite Treasury secretary Ken Henry saying Australia would avoid a negative quarter of growth.

The head of the government's tax inquiry signalled yesterday that it will back a major overhaul of taxation with an aim to make it simpler, declaring that the country would be better off if the nation's army of tax agents were schoolteachers.

Page 10: America's ailing car industry is at the centre of a batlle of wills between Barack Obama and George Bush, with Senator Obama urging the president to allocate a $US25 billion ($37 billion) rescue package.

Page 12: A senior energy industry executive has urged the state government to allow for blackouts rather than spend billions of dollars to try to ensure the lights always stay on.

Business: Emerging copper producer Matrix Metals yesterday called in the administrators, joining a growing number of junior resource companies falling victim to the credit squeeze and falling commodity prices.

Rick Hart's self-branded electrical and whitegoods chain could find itself in the hands of a new owner, after its struggling listed parent, Clive Peeters, confirmed speculation it had offered itself up for sales.

Fertiliser maker Incitec Pivot yesterday launched a deeply discounted $1.17 billion rights offer, joining a raft of Australian companies tapping equity capital due to the difficult credit markets.

A $150 million lawsuit brought by 67 clients against Opes Prime and its financiers takes "large slabs" of its argument from a similar case being run out of Melbourne, lacks sufficient evidence and could ultimately prove a waste of time, ANZ has told the Federal Court.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Receivers for ABC Learning Centres were last night seeking an urgent cash injection from the collapsed company's banks in a bid to keep 1,040 childcare centres open until the end of the year.

Property group Stockland has taken advantage of investor ire and snapped up a 12.7 per cent stake in GPT Group, buying a seat at the table for any break-up of the beleaguered real estate investment trust.

Qantas Airways is considering selling a 40 per cent stake in its lucrative $1.2 billion to private equity, after pulling previous plans to float the business because of volatile sharemarket conditions.

Treasury secretary Ken Henry has rejected accusations his department manipulated its forecasts of sustained economic growth to suit the federal government and expressed confidence that the economy can avoid recession.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd Government has walked away from its controversial FuelWatch scheme after it was defeated in the Senate, declaring it was not the '' be-all and end-all'' of moves to fight petrol prices.

Sanjay Magotra is the financial analyst at the centre of an extraordinary sharemarket stoush that has sent infrastructure group Asciano on a $720 million roller-coaster ride.

Julia Gillard faces a party room battle today as she confirms the Rudd Government's planned workplace legislation will deny access to arbitration of union wage claims when disputes are deadlocked.

Tax-free dividends could be scrapped along with requirements to complete individual tax returns under a Treasury drive to radically simplify the tax system.

Splits are emerging in Australia's peak business body over the Rudd Government's 2010 deadline for an emissions trading scheme, with calls from major industries to delay or phase in penalties for greenhouse gas emissions.

Page 4: Divisions are emerging in the nation's peak business body over the Rudd Government's 2010 deadline for a carbon trading scheme, with calls from major industries to delay or phase in the planned penalties for greenhouse gas emissions.

Australian employers are bringing in fewer overseas temporary skilled workers in yet another sign the global financial crisis is starting to impact on the real economy.

Page 5: Julia Gillard has warned that deciding the future of ABC Learning Centres will be time-consuming because the company's accounts are in such poor shape investigators will have to start from scratch in assessing its records.

Page 7: The nation's corporate watchdog has suffered a blow in its attempts to bring AWB bosses to justice after a judge ruled civil charges against them were unfair and should be put on hold.

Business: The biggest round of job cuts in the Australian financial sector for more than a decade will be headlined by 2000 sackings as a result of the Westpac-St George bank merger.

Rod Eddington will succeed Charles Goode as ANZ chairman next year as part of a far-reaching renewal of the board, including the retirement of three of the bank's eight directors.

Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group looks likely to ship and produce well below a downgraded 2008 iron ore mining target as constraints at the company's Pilbara mines continue to bite.

Shares in Asciano Group climbed 66 per cent yesterday, clawing back Tuesday's dramatic loss triggered by a Citi analyst's warning to investors to cut their losses and sell the stock.

Indophil Resources shareholders have voted overwhelmingly to sell the junior's only major asset -- a stake in the massive Tampakan copper and gold deposit in The Philippines -- despite collapsing global markets.

Inpex is building up its Australian operation, with the Japanese gas giant confirming that a board member from the company's head office had been moved to Perth to take the helm of its Ichthys gas project.

Sharemarkets tumbled yesterday after the World Bank predicted that economic growth would fall to a grim 1 per cent next year, worsening the outlook of some of the world's largest companies and putting further pressure on commodity prices.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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