Wesfarmers set for storm; $60bn mining projects under threat; Argyle forced to axe 300 jobs; Telstra raises stakes with job cut plans; Write-downs weigh heavily on business
Wesfarmers set for storm
Wesfarmers has heightened expectations it will soon be forced to tap shareholders for an equity injection of up to $4 billion, after warning its half-year profits would fall well below analyst forecasts and that it may need to slash dividends. Sydney Morning Herald
$60bn mining projects under threat
More than $60 billion of resource projects are under threat after operational reviews led to wholesale re-evaluation of the sustainability of mining developments in Australia. The Fin Review
Argyle forced to axe 300 jobs
The global economic turmoil has forced Rio Tinto to cut diamond production at its famous Argyle mine in the Kimberley and axe almost 300 jobs in the latest desperate measure by the heavily indebted miner to conserve cash. The West
Telstra raises stakes with job cut plans
Telstra is considering plans to cut thousands of jobs across the company to prepare for lower economic growth this year, in a direct challenge to the Rudd government's call for employers to avoid retrenching staff. The Fin Review
Write-downs weigh heavily on business
A Goldman Sachs JBWere report shows Australian companies are foundering under the weight of potential write-downs as asset values slump. Daily Telegraph
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:
Page 3: Fruit growers are rejoicing in the long-awaited warm weather which is set to deliver sweeter peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots.
The Education Department still needs to find nearly 170 teachers for state schools with less than three weeks to go before the start of the new year.
Page 4: The Rudd government could spend $24 million building a bridge over the Collie River to open up new land for housing.
Page 6: The mining union is preparing to intensify its industrial campaign against Rio Tinto's Pilbara operations despite the mining giant revealing this week that it would shelve a $553 million plan for driverless iron ore trains.
A major slump in the Chinese economy is now one of the biggest risks facing the world this year, a report warns.
The global economic turmoil has forced Rio Tinto to cut diamond production at its famous Argyle mine in the Kimberley and axe almost 300 jobs in the latest desperate measure by the heavily indebted miner to conserve cash.
Page 18: WA's main aged-care providers are backing the Catholic Church's call for means-tested accommodation bonds for high-care residents to ensure the ailing sector survives.
Business: Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder yesterday played down speculation the group might have to slash the value of its Coles businesses as it warned shareholders to brace for a possible cut in dividend.
Citigroup has signalled the end of a decade-long experiment to create one-stop shopping for financial services - everything from consumer loans to investment banking - with confirmation it was merging with Smith Barney brokerage into a joint venture with Morgan Stanley.
Avoca Resources managing director Rohan Williams says he is "reasonably confident" the gold producer can avoid joining other producers suffering fundraising shortfalls in recent weeks and tap investors for $25 million by tomorrow.
Wesfarmers says Coles continues to show improvement, despite a tougher retail environment which is pressuring margins.
Great Southern's failure to convince investors to support its $700 million restructure would not scuttle a class action alleging misleading and deceptive conduct, Sydney law firm Dennis & Co said yesterday.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:
Page 1: More than $60 billion of resource projects are under threat after operational reviews led to wholesale re-evaluation of the sustainability of mining developments in Australia.
Wesfarmers has flagged the possibility of cutting its dividend for the second year in a row after issuing a hasty profit warning in response to questions about its falling share price.
US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said it was "unlikely" the fiscal stimulus plan being considered by president-elect Barack Obama would deliver a lasting economic recover unless it was accompanied by strong measures to bolster the ailing banking system.
Page 3: Telstra is considering plans to cut thousands of jobs across the company to prepare for lower economic growth this year, in a direct challenge to the Rudd government's call for employers to avoid retrenching staff.
Page 4: The Australian economy may struggle to grow this year amid mounting concerns that major trading partners, particularly China, may be headed for a harder landing than expected.
Page 5: Employers have warned to resist scaling back university graduate recruitment programs amid predictions that talent shortages will be back with a vengeance once the economy recovers.
Page 6: The federal government's workplace relations reforms could spark turf wars as unions take advantage of simpler awards and broader rules for right-of-entry to workplaces.
Employers have called for key elements of the workplace law reforms to be delayed six months to reduce the impact on business during the economic downturn.
Page 8: The United States' trade deficit plunged to the lowest level in five years in November as a deepening recession slashed demand for oil by a record amount.
Page 12: Rio Tinto is shutting its Argyle mine in the Kimberley for three months and slowing a new underground development, forcing it to shed a further 200-plus jobs as the global recession hits the glamorous world of diamonds.
Page 13: Gindalbie Metals has all but guaranteed the development of its $1.8 billion Karara iron ore project in Western Australia after receiving conditional approval for a loan of up to $US1.2 billion ($1.76 billion) from China Development Bank.
Page 1: Federal government under pressure to extend the temporary boost to first home owner's grant after a flood of applications.
Rio Tinto will shut production at its Argyle diamond mine in March for three months.
Military-led Fiji government struggling to respond to the nation's worst floods in 50 years.
Page 2: Up to 95 Australian Defence Force members with post-traumatic stress disorder are being over looked for mental health treatment on their return from active service each year.
Page 3: Underworld figure Frank La Rosa is found in a deep bush grave, along with his wife, in Chittering, north-west of Perth.
Business: Rio Tinto's huge program of job cuts has spread to Western Australia, with more than 220 workers and contractors at the Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley facing the axe and production to be halted for three months.
Wall Street's big survivor, Morgan Stanley, has seized control of Citi Smith Barney in a deal that will create the largest wealth manager in the world.
Energy Resources Australia, one of the world's largest uranium producers, has announced a 5 per cent increase in uranium oxide production from last year in its latest quarterly report.
Gindalbie Metals has received conditional approval from one of China's biggest banks to borrow up to $US1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for its Karara iron ore project in Western Australia.
China's economy overtook Germany's in 2007 to become the world's third-largest after the US and Japan.
Storm Financial co-founder Emmanuel Cassimatis allegedly put forward a bailout proposal to the Commonwealth Bank just a month before the financial advisory firm collapsed, but the bank rejected it.
The aviation and transport sectors will join consumers as the big winners from the plunging oil price, while Australian petroleum players' revenues will be hit.