24/02/2009 - 06:38

Today's Business Headlines

24/02/2009 - 06:38

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Family power bills to rocket by $246 a year; Chinalco may bend on Rio; WA giant raises over $3.5bn as shares lift; Citi offers US government a 40pc stake; Forrest fights tax ruling on donation

Today's Business Headlines

Family power bills to rocket by $246 a year
The average WA household will be slugged an extra $4.74 a week - about $246 a year - for electricity from July 1, the state government announced yesterday. The West

Chinalco may bend on Rio
China's Chinalco is believed to be open to amending some of the terms of its $US19.5 billion ($30.2 billion) investment agreement with Rio Tinto if that is necessary to get the deal across the line. Sydney Morning Herald

WA giant raises over $3.5bn as shares lift
Wesfarmers will bank more than $3.5 billion from its equity raising after a late rush from small shareholders attracted by the stock's recent rally. The West

Citi offers US government a 40pc stake
Citigroup is in talks with federal officials that could result in the US Government substantially expanding its ownership of the struggling bank. The Australian

Forrest fights tax ruling on donation
Andrew ''Twiggy'' Forrest, one of Australia's richest men, is back fighting the Australian Tax Office over a $3.5 million deal involving Anaconda Nickel after he was forced to stand down as chief executive in 2001. The Australian

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The average WA household will be slugged an extra $4.74 a week - about $246 a year - for electricity from July 1, the state government announced yesterday.

Page 4: Foreigners wanting to move to Australia will find it harder with the Rudd government revamping its immigration program in response to the economic slump.

In an Australian first, West Australians with dementia can be tracked using GPS technology aimed at giving them independent lives while keeping them safe.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd plans to ignore a Senate inquiry into emissions trading by pressing ahead with his proposed scheme without changes.

Page 5: Perth football fans will be forced to dig deeper this season after Subiaco Oval's caterer increased prices on a host of items ranging from beer to meat pies and sauce.

Page 6: Privatising disability services and amalgamating schools should be considered by the state government to stop the budget plunging into the red, the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry says.

Page 9: Virgin Blue's extensive Perth operations are expected to increase despite a $101.4 million first-half loss by the carrier, according to company executives.

Page 10: The head of the Rudd government's tax review has opened the door to dumping dividend imputation to slash company tax rates and boost the real wages of Australian workers.

Mining equipment is selling for as little as half price in fire sales around the state as companies seek to liquidate assets amid the mining downturn.

Page 11: Australians have been urged to reconsider their superannuation fund with new figures showing another big fall in the nation's retirement nest eggs.

Page 12: The state's shrinking new-housing sector is in for more short-term pain, with the industry forecasting a 20 per cent drop in the number of new homes being built this year.

Business: Fairfax Media has slashed the value of its Sydney and Melbourne mastheads and warned of tougher times to come after booking its first loss since joining the stock exchange in 1992.

Wesfarmers will bank more than $3.5 billion from its equity raising after a late rush from small shareholders attracted by the stock's recent rally.

 

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The US government is considering sustainability increasing its ownership of Citigroup to protect the struggling bank from insolvency.

Globalisation is forcing the federal government's tax review panel to consider changes to the way dividends are taxed tom help companies expand offshore.

Page 3: The federal government's plan to introduce carbon trading came under further doubt yesterday, with the Greens raising the prospect of rejecting the carbon pollution reduction scheme outright because its emissions reduction target is too low.

Page 4: Unions will launch a last-ditch lobbying effort on paid maternity leave today amid fears the Rudd government will not include the scheme in its May budget.

Page 5: An increasing number of economists believe the Reserve Bank of Australia board will leave the official interest rate son hold when it meets next week as it takes time out to assess the affects of the substantial policy stimulus delivered to the economy since September.

Page 6: Toyota Australia plans to start producing its locally made Camry hybrid in the first quarter of 2010, but will have to launch a major marketing campaign to educate consumers about the petrol-electric powered vehicles and boost sales.

Page 7: West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has compared the "catastrophic" financial performance of the state's power generator Verve Energy to the infamous WA Inc losses under the Burke government of the 1980s, after announcing that households, and businesses will be slugged with big electricity prices rises.

Page 15: Virgin Blue Holdings faces two years of losses as it strips out costs and cuts capacity to try and cushion the impact of the global downturn in air travel and its badly timed investment in a new long-haul carrier.

Page 16: The boss of Australia's largest steel maker, Paul O'Malley, refused to rule out another capital raising after BlueScope Steel joined the throngs of companies to slash their dividends, book write-downs and cut back on jobs.

Page 17: Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group is on the verge of finalising the first in series of transactions that will involve Chinese interests providing a capital injection to underpin an expansion of the miner's iron ore operations.


THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Queensland Premier Anna Bligh will try to defend 11 years of Labor government and the shocking deterioration of the budget bottom line at an early election that will decide who should lead the Sunshine State out of the darkness.

Demands from Opposition MPs that Australia's proposed emissions trading scheme be shelved because of the global financial crisis have overshadowed growing unrest in government ranks about climate change policy.

Kevin Rudd's business adviser, Rod Eddington, one of only two Australians on the board of mining giant Rio Tinto, has stepped aside from voting on the company's planned $US19.5 billion ($30 billion) alliance with Chinalco because of a perceived conflict of interest.

Page 2: Fairfax Media has pointed to further job cuts and mergers of newspaper sections across the group as it battles a crumbling classified advertising market and a struggling broader economy.

Work will start on an extra 26,000 homes over the next two years as the building industry slowly lifts from the bottom of the cycle.

Page 3: A bushfire was bearing down on the Victorian resort town of Daylesford last night, hours after an out-of-control grass fire threatened Melbourne's eastern fringe, engulfing one building.

Page 4: The Liberal National Party has over the summer break regained ground lost to Labor, with voters still warming to the idea of Lawrence Springborg becoming premier.

Page 6: Kevin Rudd and Labor continue to dominate Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition as the Liberals turn on themselves over leadership and policy.

Airport staff, including front counter ticketing officers, baggage handlers and cleaners, have not been given basic terrorism awareness training, despite it being a requirement under federal laws brought in after the September 11 attacks.

The Rudd Government is under union pressure not to water down proposed workplace changes, after Coalition MPs signalled that employer fears about job losses ahead could justify opposing Labor's legislation in the Senate.

Andrew ''Twiggy'' Forrest, one of Australia's richest men, is back fighting the Australian Tax Office over a $3.5 million deal involving Anaconda Nickel after he was forced to stand down as chief executive in 2001.

Page 7: President Barack Obama will this week attempt to shore up confidence in the US economy and reassure the electorate, and foreign leaders, that he can lead the world's largest economy out of its deepest economic hole since the 1930s.

Business: Citigroup is in talks with federal officials that could result in the US Government substantially expanding its ownership of the struggling bank.

Fairfax Media will announce a major shake-up of senior executive positions by the end of next month, with the company saying it will look to '' do things in a better way'' after asset writedowns yesterday dragged it to a net loss for the December half.

The Henry review of the tax system is considering a radical overhaul of company taxation that is likely to include a shift from full dividend imputation.

One of only two Australians on the board of Rio Tinto, Rod Eddington, has chosen to stand aside from voting on the mining giant's planned $US19.5 billion ($30 billion) alliance with Chinalco because of a perceived conflict of interest.

While Rio Tinto shareholders are in a rebellious mood they should refuse to accept Rio's decision to put the contentious $US19.5 billion Chinalco proposal to a combined vote of the British and Australian companies that make up the DLC (dual-listed company).

BlueScope Steel has warned of a second-half loss as the global economic downturn hits harder than expected, leading it to slash dividends and hatch plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs.

Virgin Blue management has vowed to rein in costs and focus on retaining cash as it heads into a worsening market after a first-half net loss of $101.6 million.

A privately-owned United Arab Emirates business has emerged as a major shareholder in the nation's biggest listed pastoral business, Australian Agricultural Company.

The United Arab Emirates is to spend $US10 billion ($15.4 billion) to bail out the once-high-flying emirate of Dubai, whose huge construction and financial sector expansion plans became a symbol of boom times, and now of a worldwide recession.

Australian shares closed within a whisker of a five-year low yesterday after big falls in US and European markets.

Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group is considering raising about $1 billion from China's Hunan Valin Iron & Steel and institutional investors in a deal that could be announced as soon as today.

Rio Tinto is continuing to face pressure from its British shareholders, with chief financial officer Guy Elliott heading back to London to help sell the $US19.5 billion ($30 billion) Chinalco rescue package to disgruntled investors.

Fortescue Metals Group and its advisers last night launched an institutional book-build as part of efforts to raise at least $500 million and create much-needed headroom on the Pilbara miner's cash-strapped balance sheet.

Southern Cross Electrical Engineering has delivered an upbeat outlook despite the uncertainty gripping the resources sector, flagging a 28 per cent full-year lift on the back of new contract wins.

Futuris hopes to announce the sale of its remaining 8 per cent stake in cattle producer Australian Agricultural Company this morning after striking a deal to sell a 15 per cent parcel to a United Arab Emirates-based food manufacturer at $1.70 a share.

Leading forecasters are tipping that the US recession will worsen this year.

Chinalco is believed to be open to amending some of the terms of its $US19.5 billion ($30 billion) investment agreement with Rio Tinto if that is necessary to get the deal across the line.

BlueScope Steel warned yesterday it expected to post a loss in the second half as a sharp slowdown in the global economy sapped demand for steel.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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