16/01/2009 - 06:35

Today's Business Headlines

16/01/2009 - 06:35

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Share bloodbath on fears of recession; Job losses send shares tumbling; Rio chairman takes fall for BHP bid debacle; CanWest may be forced to can Ten; Gillard defiant on jobs

Today's Business Headlines

Share bloodbath on fears of recession
The Australian sharemarket's stuttering recovery this year has come to a shuddering halt as a swath of bad economic news reignited fears of a recession and a slump in corporate earnings. The West

Job losses send shares tumbling
Almost 44,000 Australians lost full-time jobs last month as employers sacked workers and cut positions to part-time or casual in a desperate bid to deal with the global economic slowdown, which is tightening its grip on the economy. The West

Rio chairman takes fall for BHP bid debacle
Rio Tinto chairman Paul Skinner has been ousted from the board nine months early, as the fallout from the failed takeover by BHP Billiton and poor iron ore operating results weigh heavily on the mining giant. The Fin Review

CanWest may be forced to can Ten
Ten Network's 56.6 per cent shareholder, CanWest Global Communications, yesterday refused to rule out selling its stake in Ten, and a host of its other media investments, as it battles high debt and falling profits. The Australian

Gillard defiant on jobs
The Rudd government is forging ahead with its industrial relations and greenhouse policies, rejecting calls for them to be reviewed in light of deteriorating jobs outlook. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Almost 44,000 Australians lost full-time jobs last month as employers sacked workers and cut positions to part-time or casual in a desperate bid to deal with the global economic slowdown, which is tightening its grip on the economy.

Scrap metal dealers have pleaded for people to bring them metal to trade, despite the low prices on offer, to stop the industry's total collapse.

Page 4: Fresh fears have emerged about WA's financial position with the state government facing a blowout in its wages bill of at least $160 million, which would lead to a sharp cut in services or a jump in state debt, according to the opposition.

Page 5: The number of new apprentices in WA has almost halved as demand falls for trainee tradespeople from employers across the state.

Page 6: Rents have continued to rise despite falling property prices, pushing up the cost of a typical house in Perth's suburbs to $370 per week.

Page 9: WA dairy farmers are outraged they are taking pay cuts because of milk processors' struggling export markets and say the decision will force farmers out of the industry.

Page 14: Telecommunications companies are to blame for more than half the complaints about unwanted and unsolicited phone calls.

Page 17: Acting Premier Kim Hames has guaranteed that the Esperance community will not be contaminated further by lead when work begins on removing the 9,00-tonne stockpile from the town's port next week.

Business: The Australian sharemarket's stuttering recovery this year has come to a shuddering halt as a swath of bad economic news reignited fears of a recession and a slump in corporate earnings.

Rio Tinto is missing out on about $3 billion of iron ore revenue a year because plummeting Chinese demand for the steel-making commodity has forced it to run its Pilbara operations at only about 80 per cent capacity.

The future of Ten Network has come under renewed focus after its majority shareholder, CanWest, admitted it might not be able to meet its debt repayments.

Wesfarmers shares dropped another 5 per cent yesterday as analysts cut their profit forecasts and warned dividends could be halved in the wake of Wednesday's market update.

CopperCo chairman Keith Liddell has stepped down from the board of two WA-based junior explorers linked to the collapsed miner.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Rio Tinto chairman Paul Skinner has been ousted from the board nine months early, as the fallout from the failed takeover by BHP Billiton and poor iron ore operating results weigh heavily on the mining giant.

Global sharemarkets tumbled to their lowest levels this year amid signs of deepening recession in the world's leading economies and renewed turmoil among global banks hurt by mounting losses on toxic assets.

The biggest plunge in full-time work in six years has pushed the jobless rate close to a two-year high, delivering another blow to household confidence and reducing the chances of a limited economic downturn.

Page 3: The Australian Taxation Office may be preparing to blow the whistle on professional footballers and cricketers, following investigations into their tax affairs.

Page 4: Almost three-quarters of employee share option plans issued by the top 50 ASX-listed companies since 2003 are now worthless, research by the law firm Deacons has found.

Page 5: The West Australian government has stepped up efforts to cut public-sector spending, demanding departments slash their advertising and consultancy budgets by 15 per cent as it seeks to cushion the state's finances from the slump in commodity and house prices.

Page 6: Resources giant Rio Tinto has warned the federal government that elements of its planned workplace laws designed to mimic flexibility offered by Australian workplaces agreements will instead create confusion and discourage employees from negotiating flexible work arrangements.

Page 9: Rising travel agency collapses and falling consumer bookings have prompted international tour operators to launch multi-million dollar trust funds to restore consumer confidence in the $83 billion industry.

Consumer spending over Christmas was better than expected and the predicted post-holiday collapse of businesses has yet to be fulfilled, insolvency experts say.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd government is forging ahead with its industrial relations and greenhouse policies, rejecting calls for them to be reviewed in light of deteriorating jobs outlook.

Troubled mining giant Rio Tinto could slash thousands of jobs from its Australian workforce as it continues to be battered by the economic crisis.

Tough new drinking restrictions set to be introduced across the north of Western Australia.

Page 2: Australia is expected to boost its aid by about $1 million to the flood-hit Fiji.

Page 3: Queensland government authorities covered up a 2008 accident at a water recycling plan near Brisbane.

Page 4: Workers are being encouraged to cut their hours rather than lose their jobs as the economic downturn hits company profits.

Page 5: Apple chief Steve Jobs is taking medical leave because of "complex" health issues, sparking worries about the future of the maker of iPhones, iPods and Macintosh computers.

Business:

Ten Network's 56.6 per cent shareholder, CanWest Global Communications, yesterday refused to rule out selling its stake in Ten, and a host of its other media investments, as it battles high debt and falling profits.

Mining companies slashing costs and cutting production as they struggle to cope with the global financial crisis is driving down revenue in Australia's engineering, contracting and services sector.

Rio Tinto's board has shown it is serious about its turnaround by dumping chairman Paul Skinner 11 months ahead of plan.

BHP Billiton has taken a 67 per cent increase in the Japanese smelter charges it pays to Nippon Mining's copper business joint venture.

Wesfarmers' decision to book a multi-million-dollar write-down on its $225 million private equity investments will put pressure on Australia's $1 trillion super fund industry to review its private equity exposure.

Morgan Stanley will use its Smith Barney purchase to increase its participation in corporate deals and break the stranglehold of the majors in the Australian investment banking market.

Centro Properties Group securities has been placed in a trading halt, with the group expected to announce that a restructure, which includes a $4 billion debt deadline extension for three years, has been given the go-ahead.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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