20/02/2009 - 06:38

Today's Business Headlines

20/02/2009 - 06:38

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Unions demand export licences; Austal chief confident of US Navy ship deal; British mutiny at Rio sell-out; Moody's review blues; Gillard pays employers to save jobs

Today's Business Headlines

Unions demand export licences
The Rudd Government is under pressure from Australia's two biggest mining unions to reintroduce export licences that could stop Chinese and other foreign interests forcing down export prices. The Australian

Austal chief confident of US Navy ship deal
Austral managing director Bob Browning is confident the US Navy will award it a long-awaited contract for a second Littoral Combat Ship within weeks despite political pressure to cut back the program. The West

British mutiny at Rio sell-out
Rio Tinto's major British shareholders are considering a boardroom coup to reinstate Jim Leng as chairman and remove chief executive Tom Albanese. The Australian

Moody's review blues
Worsening economic conditions have prompted a review of Australian bank credit ratings, with rating agency Moody's Investor Services expecting Australian economic growth to go into reverse this year, and unemployment to peak in 2010. The Age

Gillard pays employers to save jobs
The federal government is moving to curb rising unemployment with new labour market schemes including subsidised apprenticeships, but it faces a warning that it needs to slash migration levels to ensure local workers can find jobs as the economy stalls. The Fin Review

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: A $15 billion fleet of Australian-built submarines will be the centrepiece of the federal government's blueprint to shore up the nation's defences and provide hi-tech naval deterrence against Indonesia and China.

Page 4: The federal government has scrapped its own inquiry into emissions trading.

Page 6: Employers will be paid up to $2,800 under a Rudd government scheme to complete the training of young workers who have fallen victim to the economic downturn.

WA has had the biggest yearly fall in new car sales in Australia, sparking renewed fears for the state's economy as cash-strapped businesses and consumers continue to rein in spending.

Page 10: Anger over the recent increase in land tax refuses to subside, with new figures revealing the number of objections against land value assessments jumped 150 per cent in the first eight months of this financial year.

Page 12: The Rudd government is set to pump $435 million into renewable energy projects to help make them commercially viable as part of efforts to wean the nation off fossil fuels and stimulate green industries.

Page 14: A leading mining identity warned yesterday against allowing too much foreign investment in the industry, saying Australia was in danger of losing control over its resources.

Japanese power companies have inundated Colin Barnett with inquiries about the state's uranium industry during his tour of the country.

Growing concerns over the Sino swoop on Australian miners has triggered a Senate inquiry as a senior federal minister suggested that approving more Chinese investment could be the price of a free trade deal with Beijing.

Business: Austral managing director Bob Browning is confident the US Navy will award it a long-awaited contract for a second Littoral Combat Ship within weeks despite political pressure to cut back the program.

Worsening economic conditions have prompted a review of Australian bank credit ratings by global giant Moody's Investor Services, which is tipping Australian economic growth to slip into reverse this year and unemployment to peak in 2010.

Santos has joined Woodside is cutting is capital expenditure budget in response to the dive in oil prices, even if it does not need to because of the robust state of its balance sheet.

Investors reacted to the collapse of Ten Network's $90 million capital raising by sending the shares to new lows yesterday, as analysts warned the development left the broadcaster in a "vulnerable" position heading into a worsening industry downturn.

Despite a 30 per cent drop in net profit and a reduced order book, Perth engineering company Clough is confident it has set itself up to weather the second half of the financial year.

The fallout from the demise of ABC Learning continues, with 43 sites tipped on to the market by fund manager Austock Property Management, which expects to pocket more than $40 million.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The federal government is moving to curb rising unemployment with new labour market schemes including subsidised apprenticeships, but it faces a warning that it needs to slash migration levels to ensure local workers can find jobs as the economy stalls.

Malcolm Turnbull has deepened the Liberal Party factional tensions over his frontbench reshuffle by sacking one of the conservative wing's rising stars, in another decision likely to distract voters from the coalition's economic message.

Just as he used debt to turn an obscure structured financier into a $14 billion global powerhouse, Babcock & Brown boss Phil Green used leverage to turbocharge his own investments.

Page 5: Labor MPs are pressing for the federal government to insist that Australian companies are given reciprocal investment access into China before giving the go-ahead to the proposed $US29.8 billion bid by the Chinese government-owned company Chinalco for mining giant Rio Tinto assets.

Page 8: The head of GM Holden has ruled out a sell-off of the iconic Australian car manufacturer, while revealing it has suffered a big drop in export sales in the past month amid the global slump in vehicle sales.

Page 11: A controversial proposal to develop a liquefied natural gas hub on the environmentally sensitive Kimberley coastline must provide jobs for the local indigenous communities and coexist with ecotourism, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has reignited a row with Northern Territory chief minister Paul Henderson by claiming in Tokyo yesterday that Japanese oil giant Inpex is reconsidering its decision to build a $24 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Darwin instead of the Kimberley coast.

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Malcolm Turnbull has triggered an Opposition leadership crisis by sacking a junior frontbencher, Cory Bernardi - setting up a likely confrontation with his fiercest critics on the party's right wing.

The Rudd Government is under pressure from Australia's two biggest mining unions to reintroduce export licences that could stop Chinese and other foreign interests forcing down export prices.

Australian tax officials are expected to closely examine a landmark $US780 million ($1.2 billion) settlement between Swiss banking giant UBS and US authorities over tax fraud, in which the bank has agreed to hand over the names of about 250 wealthy account holders.

Page 2: The emissions trading scheme will not be watered down, abandoned, or delayed, the Rudd Government insists, despite mounting pressure from industry and the ravages of the global financial crisis.

Page 3: Facebook has withdrawn controversial changes to its terms of service after receiving a storm of complaints from users of the social networking website.

Page 4: Australia's record intake of temporary skilled migrants during the economic downturn could boost the number of Australian-born unemployed, as research suggests it is being used as a ''back door'' to permanent entry by low-wage workers.

Households used the Rudd government's pre-Christmas cash handouts to pay off their credit cards, but they still had the confidence to go out and spend.

Page 5: Employers will be paid up to $2800 if they recruit apprentices who have been sacked before completing their apprenticeships, under a $155 million plan to keep people in jobs.

Page 7: The cash-strapped Queensland Government will spend $100,000 writing to 150,000 households on Brisbane's north side so Premier Anna Bligh can personally respond to concerns over the planned closure of the local children's hospital.

Page 8: The extreme makeover of the US economy continued apace yesterday as President Barack Obama announced a plan to bail out nine million people at risk of losing their homes.

Business: Rio Tinto's major British shareholders are considering a boardroom coup to reinstate Jim Leng as chairman and remove chief executive Tom Albanese.

Tumbling global equity markets have slashed AMP's profit and forced it to join rivals in cutting dividends to preserve capital, with volatile conditions expected to continue throughout this year.

ANZ Bank is facing another embarrassing legacy from the boom years, involving an imminent payment of $30 million to an executive who is also a joint venture partner of the bank in an infrastructure business.

David Knox says Santos is ready to ''dance'' in the great consolidation game that continues to bubble around Gladstone and Queensland's coal seam methane wealth.

The US Federal Reserve has sharply downgraded its outlook for the economy this year, forecasting a deeper downturn and an unemployment rate close to 9 per cent by the end of the year.

The potent combination of a weak Australian dollar, record breaking growth in oil prices and the purchase of coal-seam gas assets by Petronas sent the 2008 profit of Santos soaring 359 per cent to $1.7 billion.

OZ Minerals is close to announcing the sale of its Martabe gold mine in Indonesia, which is tipped to go to a vehicle headed by former OZ Minerals director Owen Hegarty.

Macquarie Infrastructure Group has recorded a $1.27 billion loss for the half-year to December 31 after writing down the value of its toll roads by $1.5 billion.

The market value of global banks has dropped by $US5.5 trillion ($8.56 trillion) since the start of the financial crisis, according to the US-based Boston Consulting Group.

Strong newspaper readership figures further demonstrate the continuing strength of the medium, according to Tony Hale, chief executive of industry group The Newspaper Works.

In a break from Switzerland's tradition of banking secrecy, UBS has agreed to turn over to the US Government the names of about 250 account holders and pay a $US780 million ($1.22 billion) fine as part of a deal to settle a US criminal probe, according to the Department of Justice.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has signalled he will consider additional fiscal stimulus for the economy as part of coordinated international efforts to offset the global downturn.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options