04/02/2009 - 06:49

Today's Business Headlines

04/02/2009 - 06:49


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CBA, Westpac mull loan book as Dexia plans exit; Westfield goes shopping for $2.9b; Qantas asks for $500 million; Big punch but doubts still linger; New logo for Woodside to mark focus on LNG

Today's Business Headlines

CBA, Westpac mull loan book as Dexia plans exit
Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are believed to be eyeing the loan book of Franco-Belgian bank Dexia, which is planning to quit the Australian market because of deepening losses at home. The West

Westfield goes shopping for $2.9b
Frank Lowy's Westfield could be heading for further write-downs in asset values, after yesterday wading into the sharemarket with a request for $2.9 billion to shore up its balance sheet. Sydney Morning Herald

Qantas asks for $500 million
Qantas will announce a bold equity raising of about $500 million as it updates the market on its under-siege profit. Daily Telegraph

Big punch but doubts still linger
Australia is unlikely to avoid a recession even with the federal government's $42 billion fiscal stimulus and a cut in official interest rates to 45-year lows, economists said yesterday. Herald Sun

New logo for Woodside to mark focus on LNG
Woodside Petroleum has changed its corporate logo for the first time in 32 years, reflecting an evolution from Australian oil producer into what it hopes will become one of the world's biggest liquefied natural gas companies. The West




Page 4: The Reserve Bank has left the door open to more interest rate cuts after cutting rates a full percentage point yesterday as it races to stop the global financial crisis wiping out the Australian economy.

The move the slash interest rates to their lowest level in 45 years yesterday will cap falling house prices and boost confidence but will not trigger an earlier than expected turnaround in WA's battered property market, according to real estate analysts.

Page 5: The federal government and the Reserve Bank have delivered a jobs-saving double, with Kevin Rudd announcing $42 billion in giveaways and Reserve Bank slashing interest rates one percentage point.

Page 7: Businesses, unions and welfare groups have praised the Rudd government's massive economic stimulus plan but have urged Canberra to do more to safeguard jobs in the face of the global crisis.

Page 10: Contaminated soil and heritage concerns made the old East Perth power station an unattractive proposition for development, despite its prime riverside location, it was claimed yesterday.

State Treasury predictions of a massive fall in payroll tax were at odds with the WA Chamber of Commerce's view of the WA labour market, the CCI's chief economist John Nicolaou said yesterday.

Page 11: The state government's decision to shelve plans to build a new stadium at Subiaco risked forcing taxpayers to maintain three substandard stadiums indefinitely, according to the stadium task force's chairman.

Page 18: Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun businesses and contractors hit by the closure of the region's nickel mine say they face possible ruin after BHP Billiton said it would not offer compensation of extend housing buy-back offers.

Questions have emerged over monitoring of lead dust emissions by Magellan Metals when it begins exporting lead from Fremantle port this year.

Business: Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are believed to be eyeing the loan book of Franco-Belgian bank Dexia, which is planning to quit the Australian market because of deepening losses at home.

Woodside Petroleum has changed its corporate logo for the first time in 32 years, reflecting an evolution from Australian oil producer into what it hopes will become one of the world's biggest liquefied natural gas companies.

Harvey Beef has lost its chief executive amid an overhaul of WA's biggest beef processor to overcome mounting global economic pressures.

Qantas is preparing to launch a capital raising, believed to be worth about $500 million, despite having no pressing need for cash.

Former Wesfarmers director Dick Lester has put his remaining farm assets on the market in a bid to shore up his flagship business.

St Barbara Mines has sacked up to 5 per cent of its workforce after open pit mining in Leonora finished this week, and continues to battle cost blowouts through the ramp-up of the historically troubled Gwalia operations.

Michael Kiernan is preparing to lodge bids for collapsed miners Matilda Minerals and Monarch Gold Mining as his return to the public arena gathers momentum.



Page 1: The economy has been given a double-pronged growth jolt to fend off a recession, with interest rates slashed to their lowest level since the 1960s and a spending package that will take the budget into its largest deficit in 15 years.

Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan may have had to finally concede a fall into deficit, but they refuse to concede a fall into recession.

The Rudd government's fiscal package has its weaknesses.

Page 3: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has vowed to stand firm on his workplace relations agenda despite pressure from the opposition and business to water down the reforms, saying rising unemployment reinforces the need for better protection for workers.

Sales of ice-cream have soared this summer as temperatures have hovered above 40 degrees.

Page 6: Multinational companies are not only taxable under domestic tax law but can also be liable under double tax agreements signed with other countries, the Australian Taxation Office has said.

Page 7: More than 8.8 million households will share $3.6 million in family payments and $6.9 billion in tax bonuses to be paid as soon as next month in the first phase of the Rudd government's plan to prevent a recession, at the cost of widening budget deficits.

Page 9: Alarmed by evidence that the world economy is teetering perilously close to recession, the Reserve Bank of Australia board slashed the official cash rate by 1 percentage point to 3.25 per cent yesterday, marking the most aggressive monetary policy easing cycle since the early 1990s.

Page 11: Property industry groups have welcomed the latest plan to revive the economy, as developers and builders are set to benefit significantly from the government's stimulus measures.



Page 1: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced a $42 billion stimulus package to combat the worsening economic crisis.

A further 300,000 Australian will be out of work by 2010 in a dramatic upward revision of unemployment that will result in an extra 100,000 people in jobless queues by June this year.

Page 2: Schools across the country will receive $14.7 billion to improve facilities as part of the Rudd government stimulus package.

Page 3: Many Australians will receive a $950 one-off payment as part of the federal government's $42 billion stimulus program.

A total of $6.6 billion is to be spent on the construction of about 20,000 homes for public housing in an attempt to create jobs and dramatically reduce homelessness.

Page 4: The banks are entering an era of renewed market domination, given the reduced competition from non-bank lenders and the retreat of troubled foreign rivals.

Page 5: The government's debt is set to exceed $70 billion on its own forecasts and economists are tipping it could rise much higher as tax revenue weakens and new spending commitments are made.

Business: Financial markets expected the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates further than the one percentage point fall of Tuesday.

Only a week after slashing $3 billion from the value of its shopping centre assets, Westfield Group is seeking to raise almost the same amount from investors through a share placement.

Qantas was yesterday finalising a $500 million capital raising to strengthen its balance sheet in an uncertain operating environment.

James Packer's former media empire has suffered another blow, with up to 10 per cent of staff at PBL Media's fading online joint venture ninemsn sacked by its private equity masters.

The share price of Australia's second largest listed property company Stockland plunged to its lowest in a decade yesterday after the company slashed its workforce by 10 per cent.

Alumina Limited has shelved its dividend for the first time in its seven-year history as it attempts to conserve cash through another year of reduced global aluminium demand.

Rio Tinto's $US20 billion ($31 billion) plan to sell asset and equity stakes to aluminium giant Chinalco drew a generally positive reaction from analysts yesterday, though there was concern Rio was limiting future options.

Electrical retailing giant Harvey Norman has pulled the plug on its five struggling office supply stores, OFIS, in the face of the deepening financial downturn.

Woodchipper Gunns says it is expecting lower sales to Japan in the first half of calendar 2009 as the slowdown in the Japanese economy crimps demand for woodchips.

West Australian Newspapers has delivered its new board a credible result, with the group's interim profit falling only 1.9 per cent to $58.5 million despite classified advertising freefalling in the second quarter.



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