27/02/2009 - 06:40

Today's Business Headlines

27/02/2009 - 06:40

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Undies boss tripled her pay, then sacked 1,850 workers; Buckeridge private port 'favoured' for Cockburn; Telstra chief goes early as profit slides; Financial adviser crackdown; ANZ to cut dividends as debts rise, profit slows

Undies boss tripled her pay, then sacked 1,850 workers
In an act that could only be described as corporate bastardry, shameless executives at Bonds owner Pacific Brands awarded themselves pay rises of up to 170 per cent while they sacked nearly 2000 workers. Daily Telegraph

Buckeridge private port 'favoured' for Cockburn
The state government is considering shelving plans for a $1.3 billion container port in Cockburn Sound to allow a consortium led by magnate Len Buckeridge to go ahead with its proposed private port. The West

Telstra chief goes early as profit slides
Telstra's controversial US chief executive, Sol Trujillo, will quit in June ending a tumultuous four-year reign that has left the country's largest telecommunications carrier facing the potential loss of its stranglehold on the $30 billion-plus industry. The Fin Review

Financial adviser crackdown
Financial advisers and the commissions paid on investment products will be probed in a sweeping federal government inquiry that will examine whether average investors have been adequately protected by the nation's corporate regulatory system. The Australian

ANZ to cut dividends as debts rise, profit slows
ANZ will slice dividends by as much as 25 per cent as it seeks to preserve capital in the face of rising bad debts and slowing profit growth, the first big bank to cut payouts since Australia's' recession of the early 1990s. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Rich retirees could have their benefits slashed so payments can be boosted for the most vulnerable under a pension reform blueprint to be handed to the Rudd government today.

Page 3: The state government will give up to 1,500 new homes to community groups at a cost of about $450 million to solve the public housing crisis.

Page 4: Australian banks must keep lending if they want to avoid the seam problems facing financial institutions overseas, the head of the banking and superannuation watchdog warned yesterday.

Page 6: The state government is considering shelving plans for a $1.3 billion container port in Cockburn Sound to allow a consortium led by magnate Len Buckeridge to go ahead with its proposed private port.

Kevin Rudd's plan to have an emissions trading scheme in place by July next year has suffered a major setback after the prime minister's closet business ally demanded the scheme be delayed by two years because of the economic crisis.

Page 13: More pressure has been put on the public purse after WA's firefighters yesterday endorsed an above-inflation pay deal that will cost an extra $10 million annually for three years.

Business: ANZ will slice dividends by as much as 25 per cent as it seeks to preserve capital in the face of rising bad debts and slowing profit growth, the first big bank to cut payouts since Australia's' recession of the early 1990s.

Telstra's departing boss, Sol Trujillo, has bowed out with a profit downgrade and further job cuts, in the first sign that the slowing economy is biting into its core revenue stream.

Fairfax Media has succumbed to market pressure to shore up its balance sheet, embarking on a capital raising of up to $700 million to halt the dramatic slide in its share price.

Fortescue Metals Group stock fell nearly 10 per cent yesterday as investors had their first chance to react to news Hunan Valin Iron and Steel's planned purchase of a $1.2 billion stake in the Pilbara iron ore miner.

Centro Properties Group has reported a $2.4 billion first-half loss, with the shopping centre owner hit by falling property values, slumping derivative values and exchange rate losses.

Alinta parent Babcock & Brown Power has issued its second earnings downgrade since its November annual meeting, heightening concerns the stricken power station operator is at risk of defaulting on a $2.7 billion debt.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Telstra's controversial US chief executive, Sol Trujillo, will quit in June ending a tumultuous four-year reign that has left the country's largest telecommunications carrier facing the potential loss of its stranglehold on the $30 billion-plus industry.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has changed his strategy for the May federal budget to clear the way for further stimulus of the economy, raising a question mark over expected extra spending on paternal leave, research and development, industry assistance and higher education.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's most influential business adviser has joined unions and industry superannuation funds to pressure the federal government to give low-income earners big tax breaks on contributions as part of an aggressive shake-up of retirement income.

Page 3: The perfect storm has created a lack of visibility going forward, write-downs have become an investment experience, banks are checking their debt maturity profiles and struggling companies are rightsizing, rebalancing and actioning separation programs.

A key federal government industry adviser has thrown its weight behind an emission trading scheme but is demanding that the starting date be delayed until 2012.

Page 4: Australia will owe at least $200 billion in commonwealth debt within four years as the federal government begins borrowing $1.2 billion a week to stave off the global financial crisis.

Page 5: Business investment and employment are likely to weaken sharply this year despite new evidence the economy began 2009 with surprisingly solid momentum.

Page 6: The collapses of Storm Financial Services and Opes Prime have prompted parliament to examine commission payments to financial advisers, their relationships with product providers, such as banks and fund-management companies, and the roles of regulators.

Page 15: Exporters have slammed a federal government announcement that some 1,800 firms will be short-changed by up to $50 million under a controversial export promotions scheme.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Financial advisers and the commissions paid on investment products will be probed in a sweeping federal government inquiry that will examine whether average investors have been adequately protected by the nation's corporate regulatory system.

Pressure is mounting on the Rudd Government to take action to keep credit flowing to viable small and medium businesses and stem mounting job losses.

The wife of a Special Air Service Regiment soldier has accused Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon of misleading parliament, backing claims that army bungling over an overpayment led to another soldier being given a pay-packet marked $0.0 last month.

Sol Trujillo, Telstra's original ''amigo'', will leave Australia at least $40 million richer when he flies back to his native US later this year.

Page 3: Taxpayers are unlikely to claw back the $56 million spent propping up failed ABC Learning Centres, as high rents and plunging enrolments scare off potential buyers.

Page 5: Australia's beleaguered manufacturing sector is demanding the Rudd Government delay the start of its emission trading scheme for two years until the worst of the global economic crisis has passed.

Page 7: President Barack Obama was due to forecast a massive government deficit of $US1.75 trillion ($2.69 trillion)early today in his administration's first budget that sets goals of overhauling the healthcare system and shoring up the ailing US economy.

Business: The global economic crisis has forced Telstra to downgrade its full-year earnings guidance after reporting the first half-year profit decline in two years and announcing the departure of its controversial chief executive Sol Trujillo.

As Sol Trujillo announced his departure from Telstra at its half-year financial results yesterday, his subordinates looked as if they could not have cared less.

Big bank dividends are no longer untouchable after ANZ yesterday broke an 18-year tradition by foreshadowing a 25 per cent cut in its 2009 payout.

Fairfax Media will today attempt to finalise a $600 million-plus capital raising that could see it issue up to 900 million new shares to investors to cut its $2.5 billion debt load.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says politely that he looks forward to working with Sol Trujillo's successor at Telstra.

As a temporary Australian resident, outgoing Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo's vast fortune was not subject to scrutiny by the Australian Taxation Office.

The Strathfield Group administrator says a rescue bid by the biggest shareholder of the fallen mobile phone retailer offers a better chance of returns to creditors than a liquidation of assets.

The world's biggest shopping centre landlord, Westfield Group, has tumbled from a $3.4 billion profit in 2007 to a $2.2 billion bottom line loss for the 2008 year, mirroring the global economic downturn.

Beleaguered Centro Properties Group has booked a $2.4 billion loss in a half-year result that showed group debts are more than $22 billion.

Global construction giant Lend Lease will cut 2000 jobs and sideline about $2 billion worth of projects globally to survive the worsening economic conditions after booking an interim after-tax loss of $596.4 million.

Macquarie Group's shares slumped to their lowest level in almost a decade despite a statement from the company dousing rumours of a potential capital raising and assurances that its balance sheet was strong.

Analysts have slashed their forecasts for clothing marketer Pacific Brands following the company's decision to shut its Australian factories and suspend dividends to save costs.

Arrow Energy has failed to block rival BG Group taking a 29 per cent stake in coal seam gas target Pure Energy in a sign it is not prepared to better BG's $1 billion cash bid.

Hopes for an early recovery in China's economy are starting to unravel, undercutting the optimism that has helped to make the country's stock market the world's best performer this year.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group last night announced a drastic restructuring after posting the largest full-year corporate loss in British history.

 

THE AGE:

Business: ANZ will slice dividends this year by as much as 25 per cent as it seeks to preserve capital in the face of rising bad debts and slowing profit growth. It is the first big bank to cut payments to investors since Australia slipped into a recession early last decade.

Fairfax Media has succumbed to market pressure to shore up its balance sheet, embarking on a capital raising of up to $700 million to halt the dramatic slide in its share price.

US president Barack Obama unveiled a $US3.552-trillion ($5.47 trillion) budget on Thursday that outlines aggressive plans to boost the recession-stricken US economy, overhaul its health care system and hike taxes on the rich.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options