16/02/2009 - 06:40

Today's Business Headlines

16/02/2009 - 06:40


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BHP urged to take Rio again; Wesfarmers set tone; NAB to reshuffle top ranks; Storm founders plan to sue bank; Anger against bankers

BHP urged to take Rio Tinto
Angry shareholders are urging BHP Billiton to launch a second takeover tilt at Rio Tinto to scuttle its former target's unpopular $29.6 billion deal with Chinalco, according to UK media reports. Herald Sun

Wesfarmers set tone
All eyes will be on Coles owner Wesfarmers today when it reports its first-half net profit, expected to come in between $850 million and $880 million. The Australian

NAB to reshuffle top ranks
National Australia Bank is set to announce a senior management restructure, with business and private banking boss Joseph Healy tipped for a big promotion and an expanded role in the key Australian banking operations. The Australian

Storm founders plan to sue bank
The founders of Storm Financial are planning to regain control and sue its business partner and financier, Commonwealth Bank, for allegedly causing the financial planner's collapse. Sydney Morning Herald

Anger against bankers
Lloyd's Banking Group is planning to hand out bonuses totalling $260 million to staff despite losses of $22 billion by its HBOS subsidiary, it has been reported. Herald Sun



Page 1: Researchers have called for an urgent inquiry into Australian maternity services after finding that babies born in public hospitals are three times as likely to die in the first month after birth compared with those born in private hospitals.

Page 3: The Google Phone, widely touted as the first serious rival to the highly successful Apple iPhone, reaches the Australian market today.

Page 7: Fishermen are demanding compensation from the state government after it announced that commercial fishing for western rock lobsters would be restricted to four days a week.

The Barnett government's revision of the Perth Waterfront project and the global financial crisis will delay the development by several years, with no construction likely before the next election, according to project developer LandCorp.

Page 10: Premier Colin Barnett is on a collision course with a powerful parliamentary committee after departments were blocked from handing over details of how they will achieve the state government's mandatory 3 per cent budget cuts.

The state government has confirmed its demand for 3 per cent budget cuts across all agencies could force the closure of a specialist library dedicated to workplace health and safety.

Business: Winning the support of Rio Tinto's shareholders for a proposed $US19.5 billion ($29.5 billion) tie-up with China's Chinalco is shaping up as a bigger hurdle than expected, as more institutional investors voice their concern over the controversial deal.

The founders of Storm Financial plan to regain control of the failed financial planner and use it as a vehicle to sue business partner Commonwealth Bank, for allegedly causing Storm's collapse.

Donald Trump has resigned from the boards of debt-laden Trump Entertainment Resorts as the company he founded faces bankruptcy.

Australian retailers should brace for the arrival of foreign department stores and supermarkets, as chains seek new markets for expansion, despite the global financial crisis.

Uranium miner Paladin Energy will begin developing its Manyingee project near Exmouth, which has been on the backburner because of the previous WA government's anti-uranium stance, within six months.



Page 1: The US government has finally won congressional approval for a $US787 billion ($1.2 trillion) package of spending and tax cuts designed to revive the US and global economies, but economists fear compromises over the size and content of the plan may dull its effectiveness.

Leading company directors have warned against a tide of new regulations, as pressure builds for the federal government to push through key changes governing executive pay, accounting standards, market regulation and ratings agencies.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese has postponed a trip to Australia amid a growing backlash from major shareholders about the miner's controversial plans to sell convertible notes and minority stakes in key assets to state-owned Chinese aluminium group Chinalco.

Page 3: The Rudd government's renewable energy target has been rejected by the very industry it is intended to support as clean power companies claim the scheme will not achieve Labor's election promise to deliver 20 per cent emissions-free electricity by 2020.

Cost cutting and the ditching of fringe marketing activities are hurting the $2.9 billion sponsorship industry.

Page 5: The shakeout in the Australian car component sector is gathering pace as the federal government and trade unions worry about financial difficulties facing gearbox maker Drivetrain Systems International.

Page 6: The likelihood of further cuts to official interest rates should be clearer by the end of this week as the Reserve Bank of Australia releases minutes from its last board meeting and governor Glenn Stevens is grilled by federal politicians.

Page 7: The superannuation industry has been left cold by the Liberal National Party's pledge to establish trusts to encourage fund managers to invest in major capital works projects in Queensland.

Page 13: Foster's Group has spent 10 months wrestling with the future of its $4 billion wine division and is set to reveal its findings tomorrow.

Page 15: Qantas's low-budget subsidiary, Jetstar, is tipped to enter New Zealand's domestic aviation market within days, intensifying competition in what is already considered a crowded market.

Rivals are expecting the collapse of Australia's biggest childcare provider, ABC Learning Centres, to reset the value of childcare businesses across the country as listed operator Early Learning Services becomes the first to write-off the value of its recent acquisitions.


Page 1: Kevin Rudd's hand-picked health reform commission will urge the Prime Minister to seize control of key state-run aspects of the nation's health system, as part of an overhaul aimed at boosting service and standards of care.

New national building rules for bushfire zones are so lax that they put lives at risk, fire authorities have warned as Victoria prepares to go it alone with tougher controls.

Telstra has thrown its support behind a charter of rights, saying the Howard government's holding of children in immigration detention underlined the need for protections greater than the common law.

The senior management of National Australia Bank is set for a shake-up, with business and private banking boss Joseph Healy tipped for a big promotion and an expanded role in the key Australian banking operations.

Page 2: More than 60 per cent of car dealerships that were facing ruin because of the withdrawal of vehicle financing companies have found alternative credit without using a special government-negotiated $2 billion rescue fund.

Pensioner lobby groups have insisted Kevin Rudd lift the aged pension in May's annual budget regardless of the pressure on government revenues caused by the global financial crisis.

Page 3: A rise in the number of investment properties whose rental returns exceed the cost of the mortgage will trigger a recovery in the housing market.

Page 4: ABC Learning rationed sandwiches and drawing paper to children in its care, the failed childcare corporation's non-profit rival has told a Senate inquiry.

Page 6: Victoria's fire chiefs knew they were powerless to stop the fires rolling towards Kinglake on Black Saturday, but were unable to relay warnings to the residents in time.

If there is a silver lining to this appalling tragedy in Victoria, it is the generosity of a shocked and caring nation.

Page 8: Premier John Brumby has warned that work on rebuilding the more than 1800 homes destroyed in the Victorian bushfire disaster could take up to six months to begin.

Business: Scotsman Ian McLeod, who will be looking to convince Wesfarmers' shareholders and analysts today that his turnaround plans for Coles are on track, is no stranger to a good fight.

National Australia Bank is set to announce a senior management restructure, with business and private banking boss Joseph Healy tipped for a big promotion and an expanded role in the key Australian banking operations.

All eyes will be on Coles owner Wesfarmers today when it reports its first-half net profit, expected to come in between $850 million and $880 million.

Halfway through one of history's grimmest reporting seasons, a smattering of companies have stood out from the crowd and are actually benefiting from the global downturn.

Interests associated with Kerry Stokes sold their entire stake in ailing manufacturer Nylex the day before the company collapsed.

Gold has been the standout performer in an otherwise bleak investment market in the past three months as investors punt on the return of inflation.

Legal & General Plc, the second-largest institutional shareholder in Rio Tinto Group, has called for an alternative to the mining company's $US19.5 billion ($30 billion) financing deal with Chinalco that would protect the rights of existing investors.

Woolworths is to pool the resources of newly acquired online wine auction business Langton's and big-box liquor chain Dan Murphy's to tighten its hold on the premium end of the drinks market.



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