20/11/2008 - 06:53

Today's Business Headlines

20/11/2008 - 06:53

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It's OK to go into red - RBA; Babcock to cut itself in two; BHP softens plans to increase production; Reynolds re-election renews ABCC push; Razor gang with sharp eye for WA cuts

Today's Business Headlines

It's OK to go into red - RBA
The Reserve Bank has given the green light for federal and state governments to go into deficit to support economic growth in the face of the global downturn. The Australian

Babcock to cut itself in two
Embattled investment company Babcock & Brown will slash 850 jobs by 2010, hive off half its business and refocus as a specialist infrastructure company - all while trying to keep the banks at bay. The Age

BHP softens plans to increase production
BHP Billiton has softened its stance of production growth and expansion despite European Union regulators expressing concern about a merged BHP-Rio Tinto's control over iron ore and coking coal markets. The Australian

Reynolds re-election renews ABCC push
The re-election of militant unionist Kevin Reynolds as boss of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Western Australia will add to industry arguments for retaining the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, says business. The Fin Review

Razor gang with sharp eye for WA cuts
West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell has hinted at deeper cuts to the public sector, claiming the state's bureaucracy had been "gathering moss" under the reign of the former Labor government. The Fin Review

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has urged Australians to have "quiet confidence" about their future, saying the economy was in a strong position to escape the worst of the global financial turmoil which has plunged some of the nation's biggest trading partners into recession.

Page 3: Doctors say growing organs in laboratories with patients' stemcells is becoming a reality after ground-breaking surgery in which a woman was transplanted with the world's first tissue-engineered windpipe.

Page 4: Besieged Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore's wife Lee has bowed to mounting pressure over the conflict of interests saga which has plagued the state government, with Mr Moore revealing yesterday that she had sold her shares in BHP Billiton, Woodside and Wesfarmers.

Page 7: Australian woolgrowers are facing a global backlash from animal rights activists after opponents of a deadline to ban sheep mulesing were elected to the industry's marketing body.

Page 12: Australian vehicles manufacturers and their suppliers may press the federal government for financial help on top of $6.2 billion in industry assistance already announced, as their American parent companies struggle to survive.

The LNG industry says up to 37 per cent of its potential output would be under threat if it does not qualify for exemptions under the emissions trading scheme.

Page 14: Darren Kavanagh, who this week lost his battle with Kevin Reynolds for the top job at the federal branch of the construction union after a bitter five-month campaign, will not contest the impending election for the state branch of the same organisation.

Page 16: The state government will embark on extra efficiency drives in a bid to cut spending by more than 3 per cent to insulate the budget from the effects of the global slowdown.

Business: Embattled investment company Babcock & Brown will slash 850 jobs by 2010, hive off half its business and refocus as a specialist infrastructure company - all while trying to keep the banks at bay.

Fortescue Metals Group shareholders' five-year honeymoon has come to a screeching halt.

Property developer Peet will defer plans to tap retail investors over its Alkimos project, cut dividends and review costs with what managing director Brendan Gore says is an "extremely difficult and challenging environment".

Wheat exporter AWB yesterday rejected suggestions it would be the next major player to tap the market for cash, insisting it was in a strong capital position after more than doubliung full-year net profit to $64.3 million.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Babcock & Brown will retrench about 850 staff and sell all of its non-infrastructure assets in a last-ditch effort to stave off insolvency by reducing its $3.1 billion debt.

The Rudd government will toughen the penalties for spreading false information about a company, preparing new curbs on tactics to drive down share prices on the day the corporate regulator relaxed its temporary ban on short sales.

Page 3: Capital expenditure on mining and energy projects - a major driver of economic growth in recent years - has fallen in the past six months in a sign that companies are shelving investment plans as commodity prices soften.

Page 5: Trade-exposed industries have stepped up their attacks on the federal government over carbon trading, accusing it of failing to engage with their concerns and warning the proposed scheme could increase global emissions.

Page 6: West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell has hinted at deeper cuts to the public sector, claiming the state's bureaucracy had been "gathering moss" under the reign of the former Labor government.

Page 7: The re-election of militant unionist Kevin Reynolds as boss of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Western Australia will add to industry arguments for retaining the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, says business.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Reserve Bank has given the green light for federal and state governments to go into deficit to support economic growth in the face of the global downturn.

Business: The future of financial engineering group Babcock & Brown hung in the balance last night with a syndicate of 25 banks- owed $3.12 billion and including Australia's top four financiers - locked in an emergency meeting to decide its fate.

BHP Billiton has softened its stance of production growth and expansion despite European Union regulators expressing concern about a merged BHP-Rio Tinto's control over iron ore and coking coal markets.

Rupert Murdoch believes the global financial crisis will wipe out at least half of the world's hedge funds - and he won't be sad to see them go.

The speculative community's Napoleonic retreat from resource stocks is reaching Moscow-like proportions, as former local market darlings like Alumina and reputation-scarred OZ Minerals keep hitting historic, and frankly puzzling, trading lows.

Junior oil and gas companies are beginning to struggle against the outgoing tide, as falling oil prices and tougher capital markets threaten to spark a contraction in the sector similar to that seen by Australian mining minnows.

Copper and zinc miner OZ Minerals continued on a relentless slide yesterday, hitting a five-year low after admitting full-year profit will fall and that it is facing asset impairments.

Shrinking interest margins and minimising bad debts are the key challenges facing regional banks in fiscal 2009 as they compete against the increasing dominance of Australia's major banks, according to KPMG.

The Commonwealth Bank is fighting a test case over trading hours amid allegations management is forcing staff to work on weekends at a cost to family life.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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