25/02/2009 - 06:34

Today's Business Headlines

25/02/2009 - 06:34

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China’s $1bn Fortescue play; Chernin's exit paves way for heir apparent; Gas find boosts Woodside train plan; State poised to approve private port; Labor under pressure on infrastructure funding

Today's Business Headlines

China's $1bn Fortescue play
China is moving to strengthen its grip on key Australian resource assets with steelmaker Hunan Valin Iron & Steel last night agreeing to deals giving it a 15 per cent stake in Fortescue Metals Group. The Australian

Chernin's exit paves way for heir apparent
After 20 years with News Corp, and the past 12 years as Rupert Murdoch's second in command, Peter Chernin has announced he will walk away, once again setting off speculation about the media mogul's dynastic ambitions for his empire. The Age

Gas find boosts Woodside train plan
Woodside Petroleum has taken a big step towards securing hydrocarbon supplies for a second train at its $12 billion Pluto liquefied natural gas project on the Burrup Peninsula after announcing a major gas discovery. The West

State poised to approve private port
The state government is poised to give the green light to the first phase of a $422 million private port to be built near Kwinana by a consortium led by magnate Len Buckeridge. The West

Labor under pressure on infrastructure funding
The federal government's nation-building plans were under a cloud yesterday after it was revealed that only $10 billion had been deposited so far in three funds that were supposed to total $40 billion, underlining how the financial crisis is hitting federal finances. The Fin Review

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: A police counter-terrorism unit set up to protect the North West Shelf has become the latest casualty of the state government's budget cuts, sparking fears that WA could be vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

Page 3: Rupert Murdoch's right-hand man has quit his $30 million-a-year ($46.27 million) post as News Corporation's president and chief operating officer, fuelling speculation one of the media mogul's children is preparing to stake a claim on his $25 billion empire.

Page 4: The state government is poised to give the green light to the first phase of a $422 million private port to be built near Kwinana by a consortium led by magnate Len Buckeridge.

Page 7: Women have warned Kevin Rudd he risks alienating working mothers if he fails to deliver paid maternity leave despite the budget already plunging into the red.

Page 9: Unions have called for an inquiry into BHP Billiton's safety procedures after a fourth person was killed on a site owned by the mining giant in seven months.

Page 10: The economic downturn has sparked a surge of interest in voluntary work as those affected by job losses or reduced hours try to find a way to fill in the day.

Page 17: The state government is under pressure to reduce the impact of the global economic downturn on WA's tourism industry by spending more to restore confidence in the troubled sector.

Business: Woodside Petroleum has taken a big step towards securing hydrocarbon supplies for a second train at its $12 billion Pluto liquefied natural gas project on the Burrup Peninsula after announcing a major gas discovery.

Andrew Forrest last night claimed his decision to allow Hunan Valin to grab a 16.5 per cent stake in Fortescue Metals Group would not give the Chinese steel mill undue influence over the fledgling Pilbara iron ore miner, despite growing concern over China Inc's increasing ownership of Australian mining assets.

Global stockmarkets are plumbing 12-year lows, with the US Dow Jones industrial averaged hitting 1997 levels after Monday's 270-point, 3.7 per cent sell-off.

The future of two WA power stations formerly owned by Babcock & Brown Power has been resolved, with partner ERM Power temporarily taking full control of its Kwinana joint venture and ANZ's infrastructure arm picking up BBP's share of its other plant in Neerabup, 30km north of Perth.

Independence Group has taken a $7 million hit over its investment in collapsed copper producer Matrix Metals, adding to its woes as it battles falling nickel prices.

The challenges facing WA's mid-tier gold miners were on show yesterday as the head of Focus Minerals stepped down and Crescent Gold delayed a decision on its troubled mill, even as a flurry of deals underscored the extent of investor appetite for the sector.

 

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The federal government's nation-building plans were under a cloud yesterday after it was revealed that only $10 billion had been deposited so far in three funds that were supposed to total $40 billion, underlining how the financial crisis is hitting federal finances.

Australia's lowest-paid employees face the prospect of a minimal wage rise this year, with the government's pay regulator warning of a heightened risk that a big increase could fuel the expected surge in unemployment.

Electricity generators warn that key elements of the Rudd government's emissions trading plans are jeopardising the refinancing of billions of dollars'' worth of debt and compliance with Australian Securities and Investments Commission licences, risking chaos in the national energy market.

Page 3: Up to 1.8 million people could miss out on the federal government's tax bonus as part of the $42 billion fiscal package because they have not lodged their 2008 tax returns, an internal Australian Taxation Office memo reveals.

Page 5: The federal government's first-home owners boost has encouraged 30,000 people to make their first housing purchase since the scheme was introduced in mid October.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Queensland Government's top investment adviser has undermined Premier Anna Bligh's justification for an early election, saying there is no evidence political instability has hindered business investment in the state.

The navy's submarine fleet is in danger of becoming unsustainable because of a chronic shortfall of qualified sailors, with almost half of all submariners wanting to leave the navy as soon as possible, according to a confidential Defence report.

Kevin Rudd is expected within 24 hours to announce his first ministerial reshuffle to give his long-term supporter Mark Arbib a double promotion.

Page 2: The risk that the federal government will have to refund hundreds of millions of dollars from its alcopops tax hike escalated dramatically yesterday when the sole Senate crossbencher to back the measure withdrew his support.

Taxpayer-funded grants to first-home buyers skyrocketed after Kevin Rudd tripled the grants in October to insulate the building industry from job losses caused by the global financial crisis.

Page 4: Federal Labor's workplace laws threaten to reopen some of the most bitter disputes in fire-fighting history by potentially allowing professional firefighters to be employed on different wages and conditions.

Page 8: Farmers able to reduce their greenhouse emissions could choose to join the carbon trading scheme under changes being considered by the Coalition, potentially earning the farm sector up to $3 billion a year and providing room for further concessions to heavy industry.

Business: News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has lost one of his key lieutenants amid an increasingly challenging trading environment.

China is moving to strengthen its grip on key Australian resource assets with steelmaker Hunan Valin Iron & Steel last night agreeing to deals giving it a 15 per cent stake in Fortescue Metals.

The Australian share market tumbled to a five-year low yesterday after the US market shuddered with a 3.4 per cent loss despite moves by the Obama administration to quell fears about the viability of major banks.

Pressure has intensified on Macquarie Group after its shares yesterday plunged to levels not seen since late 2002 and a major shareholder continued to trim its holding.

Australia's largest regional media company, Macquarie Media Group, has become the second media group in 24 hours to report a bottom-line net loss after making substantial write-downs to the value of newspaper mastheads.

Suncorp's senior management will be transformed, after the troubled banassurer announced yesterday that chief executive John Mulcahy would leave early and chief financial officer Chris Skilton would also depart after a period as interim CEO.

Flight Centre has reported a 57.4 per cent fall in first-half profit after global sales slowed.

Barack Obama's assurances he will address runaway government deficits, despite adding to the red ink in his battle with the economic crisis, did little to quell fears about the viability of major US banks that saw the Dow Jones index fall to a 12-year low.

Insurance giant American International Group is preparing to report a quarterly loss that will probably exceed $US60 billion ($93 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

Several media analysts believe Fairfax Media's debt issues remain unresolved, despite claims at the company's first-half earnings briefing on Monday that falling interest rates will help it to gain '' headroom'' from covenant pressure.

Sino Gold Mining has tapped a Chinese bank to fund potential acquisitions in the economic powerhouse.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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