Today's Business Headlines

10/03/2009 - 06:25

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Kalahari claims another Extract chairman scalp; Chinese buy more Fortescue; Gillard beefs up work umpire; Wong admits ETS deadline in doubt; Rio’s US mine exit to chip at debt

Today's Business Headlines

Kalahari claims another Extract chairman scalp
Extract Resources has lost its second chairman in a month, yesterday bowing to Kalahari Minerals' demands to oust John Main as part of a shake-up designed to ease its major shareholder's fears that Rio Tinto could be seizing control of the uranium hopeful. The West

Chinese buy more Fortescue
China's Hunan Valin Iron & Steel has upped its stake in Fortescue Metals Group to 17.4 per cent after paying $86.8 million for 35 million newly issued shares. Daily Telegraph

Gillard beefs up work umpire
The Rudd Government's new industrial umpire will be handed considerably enhanced powers to rule on workplace grievances, after Julia Gillard proposed a late round of amendments meant to appease business and union complaints. The Australian

Wong admits ETS deadline in doubt
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has conceded that the Government's emissions trading scheme might not become law by its June deadline, as the Coalition and the Greens established a two-month Senate committee to canvass the scheme's flaws and alternative approaches. The Australian

Rio's US mine exit to chip at debt
Rio Tinto's aggressive push to bring down its debt burden took another step forward yesterday as it offloaded a US coal asset for $US761 million ($1.18 billion). The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: The World Bank has warned the global economy will shrink for the first time since World War II just as up to a quarter of Australian firms signal they will axe staff over the next four months.

Farmers fear that Harvey Beef is pushing to cut the price it pays some beef producers by 15 cents per kilogram in a bid to keep its abattoir viable.

Page 9: A Saudi Arabian company plans to invest $200 million in WA to create a huge pearl farm and biodiesel production plant off the coast of Port Hedland.

Page 12: Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group wants the federal government to use $45 million from its $42 billion stimulus package to build houses for its indigenous workforce despite aborting its won plan to build homes for employees.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group has warned that its already-battered iron ore production target could come under further pressure because of mine site flooding caused by heavy tropical rainfall in the Pilbara.

Crude oil prices are heading higher as traders and investors nervously eye the prospect of further production cuts at Sunday's OPEC meeting.

Extract Resources has lost its second chairman in a month, yesterday bowing to Kalahari Minerals' demands to oust John Main as part of a shake-up designed to ease its major shareholder's fears that Rio Tinto could be seizing control of the uranium hopeful.

Rio Tinto could face additional scrutiny over the need for $US19.5 billion ($30.2 billion) from China's Chinalco after it yesterday sold a US coal mine for $US761 million.

Nexus Energy, the company behind the Crux oil project off northern WA, has put its shares in a trading halt as it considers asset sale offers and a possible debt raising.

Salaries in the Perth information technology sector have fallen by 5 per cent over the past year and are significantly lower than other Australian capital cities, a survey has found.

Jupiter Mines shareholders have overwhelmingly approved a partial takeover by former BHP Billiton boss Brian Gilbertson in the hope it will breathe fresh life into the WA iron ore junior.

The Holiday Inn Perth has been put up for sale by Eureka Funds Management.

The sharemarket struggled to find direction yesterday after a lacklustre US session on Friday, with the benchmark S&P-ASX 200 fluctuating around the previous close before finishing nine points, or 0.29 per cent, higher at 3,154.4.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Investors have suffered paper losses of $7.6 billion from backing equity raisings by companies seeking to repair balance sheets and repay loans they could not roll over amid the turmoil in the world credit markets.

The World Bank is forecasting the first contraction in the international economy in more than 50 years, amid warnings that the global downturn has wiped $US50 trillion off the value of assets worldwide, with some of the biggest hits to wealth occurring in Australia's key Asian commodity markets.

The Rudd government has offered last-minute changes to its workplace relations reforms to try to win employer support and secure minor party backing to get the laws through the Senate.

Page 3: The difficulties faced by the states in raising debt finance are in the spotlight again after Tasmania failed to find investors willing to participate in a relatively modest $100 million bind issue.

Page 5: The tax office has ramped up its crackdown on executives who failed to declare the shares and options they received in their pay packets in recent years by forcing their companies to hand over the detail.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd Government's new industrial umpire will be handed considerably enhanced powers to rule on workplace grievances, after Julia Gillard proposed a late round of amendments meant to appease business and union complaints.

The Rudd Government should immediately consider lifting the retirement age and cutting healthcare entitlements to combat rising welfare costs because of the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has conceded that the Government's emissions trading scheme might not become law by its June deadline, as the Coalition and the Greens established a two-month Senate committee to canvass the scheme's flaws and alternative approaches.

Page 3: The federal Government yesterday urged universities to enrol an additional 55,000 students from poor backgrounds and to reform the research and innovation system.

Page 4: Future shotgun weddings between state divisions of the conservative parties, such as occurred in Queensland last July, would be blocked under planned changes to the Liberal Party's federal constitution.

Shock absorbers such as flexible capital requirements should be built into the financial system to prevent future financial crises.

More than half of Australia's mining and resource companies will sack staff in the next 12 months because of the dramatic economic downturn.

Liberal Deputy Leader Julie Bishop has backed Malcolm Turnbull's controversial tactic of questioning Kevin Rudd's political sincerity by highlighting the personal wealth of his wife Therese Rein.

Page 6: Uranium mining has become a major point of difference between the two parties in Queensland, with the Liberal National Party set to overturn Labor's ban on the practice if it wins office.

Page 7: The US will press world leaders to boost emergency government spending to rescue the global economy, risking a rift with European nations more concerned with improving financial regulations.

A man dubbed the "Swiss Gigolo" was last night jailed for six years after cheating and blackmailing a string of superrich lovers, including Germany's richest woman, out of millions of euros.

Business: Credit markets are seizing up again amid new anxieties about the global financial system.

The credit risk of corporate Australia has blown out to an all-time high as the domestic financial market remains fractured and at the mercy of international fluctuations.

Rio Tinto's aggressive push to bring down its debt burden took another step forward yesterday as it offloaded a US coal asset for $US761 million ($1.18 billion).

China's Hunan Valin Iron & Steel has upped its stake in Fortescue Metals Group to 17.4 per cent after paying $86.8 million for 35 million newly issued shares.

Nexus Energy has entered a trading halt pending the announcement of asset sales and debt-raising measures following the delayed resolution of its attempts to sells its Crux liquids project.

Macquarie is preparing one of its largest British assets for sale, as the group's satellite funds move to raise cash and tackle rising debt levels.

The global financial crisis may have diminished global demand for Australia's more expensive wines, but foreign drinkers appear to be drowning their sorrows in cheaper Aussie plonk.

The prospect of Telstra chief financial officer John Stanhope becoming chief executive of the telco was the subject of much debate yesterday after he accepted a non-executive directorship with AGL Energy.

Bill Ireland, the founder and executive chairman of beleaguered Mariner Financial, insists his company is still "in business" despite reporting a half-year after-tax loss of $45 million - 222 per cent down on last year's first-half loss of $14 million.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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