Today's Business Headlines

26/03/2009 - 06:42

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Rio's Chinalco deal clears first hurdle; Swan throws debt lifeline to the states; Bank chiefs see upside; Canadian uranium player eyes View camp; Chalice Bridge put up for sale

Today's Business Headlines

Rio's Chinalco deal clears first hurdle
The competition regulator has approved Chinalco's investment in Rio Tinto on the grounds that Rio alone could not have a significant effect on the dynamics of the global iron ore market. Sydney Morning Herald

Swan throws debt lifeline to the states
The Rudd government has agreed to guarantee an estimated $170 billion in state debt in a deal struck yesterday to cushion the states against a severe lending shortage that threatened to curtail major infrastructure projects during the global downturn. The Fin Review

Bank chiefs see upside
The bosses of the nation's biggest banks have declared Australia has been able to weather the worst of the global financial crisis well, with some predicting official interest rates could fall to a low of just 2 per cent by the second half of this year as the Reserve Bank attempts to keep the economy pumping. The Age

Canadian uranium player eyes View camp
Mega Uranium is considering buying the Bronzewing mine camp of collapsed gold miner View Resources as part of plans to fast-track its Lake Maitland uranium deposit in the northern Goldfields. The West

Chalice Bridge put up for sale
One of the biggest independent wineries in Margaret River is on the market, with Chalice Bridge Estate founder Rob Edinger calling time on his 11-year-old business. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: Auditor-General Colin Murphy has challenged the Barnett government's authority to impose a 3 per cent cut to his agency's budget.

Page 10: The number of West Australians on the dole has soared 30 per cent in the year to February, the second biggest increase in the country, as the global economic recession worsens.

Page 13: Easy-to-cook cuts and old-fashioned service are helping independent butchers claw back their share of the red meat trade.

Page 14: Qantas is expected to defer new plane deliveries to help weather the financial downturn after the biggest management shake-up in its history.

Business: Mega Uranium is considering buying the Bronzewing mine camp of collapsed gold miner View Resources as part of plans to fast-track its Lake Maitland uranium deposit in the northern Goldfields.

Australia's competition regulator has delivered a stinging blow to critics of Chinalco's $US19.5 billion ($28.1 billion) Rio Tinto rescue package by claiming the world's second-biggest iron ore producer could not unilaterally affect the price of the steel-making commodity.

Former Wesfarmers chief executive and chairman Trevor Eastwood launched his authorised biography in low-key fashion yesterday, in front of friends and family at a classic car workshop in West Leederville.

Hannans Reward's beleaguered board is in turmoil after a second director yesterday gave his support to a hostile takeover bid from Terry Streeter's Fox Resources.

Euroz did not conduct sufficient due diligence on Opes Prime Stockbroking and should have been "far more vehement" when it warned client Bruce Drummond about the risks to his $7.8 million portfolio, veteran stockbroker Russell McKimm told the federal court yesterday.

One of the biggest independent wineries in Margaret River is on the market, with Chalice Bridge Estate founder Rob Edinger calling time on his 11-year-old business.

Wesfarmers shares extended their recovery yesterday, hitting a four-month high and defying a downgrade by one of the group's biggest critics.

Citic Pacific, the Hong Kong company behind the $US4.2 billion ($5.9 billion) Sino magnetite project in the Pilbara, has confirmed a big loss last year after betting the wrong way on the Australian dollar, but maintained its finances were secure.

The bosses of the nation's biggest banks have declared Australia has been able to weather the worst of the global financial crisis well, with some predicting interest rates could fall to a low of just 2 per cent by the second half of this year and the Reserve Bank moves to keep the economy pumping.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Rudd government has agreed to guarantee an estimated $170 billion in state debt in a deal struck yesterday to cushion the states against a severe lending shortage that threatened to curtail major infrastructure projects during the global downturn.

The bear market has stripped billions of dollars from the wealth of the nation's senior executives as the value of stock options plunges, increasing pressure on boards to scrap the controversial practice and find new ways to keep their senior staff motivated during the downturn.

US President Barack Obama has flagged major reforms to the global financial regulatory system to match a big push in the US to assert government control over non-bank institutions such as insurance companies and hedge funds.

Page 3: Banks must tackle the charge that they are all "bastards" head on, National Australia Bank chief executive officer Cameron Clyne said, as he outlined an ambitious strategy to improve public perception of his company.

Page 5: Most workers are not topping up employer contributions to superannuation, highlighting concerns about the adequacy of retirement income for the ageing population.

Page 9: The West Australian Treasury Corporation raised strong concerns this month that a Commonwealth guarantee on state borrowings could cause "irreparable long-term harm" to investor perceptions of the states' creditworthiness and could promote fiscal irresponsibility.

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd Government will guarantee all state government borrowings - possibly up to $150 billion - to ensure that the states can continue to raise money to stimulate the economy with infrastructure spending during the credit crisis.

Regional economies could shrink by more than 20 per cent over the next 40 years under the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme, according to secret modelling commissioned by the NSW government but never released.

Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama are in furious agreement on the latest solution to the global economic crisis.

The nation's competition watchdog has inflamed the debate on foreign investment in Australia by suggesting all state-owned Chinese companies should be considered "subsidiaries" controlled by the same parent.

Page 2: Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has been investigated by his own department over a relationship with an affluent Chinese-born businesswoman, Fairfax has reported.

In the league of Cold War warriors, few were as courageous or as resolute as Laurie Short.

Page 3: Qantas had been pushing the Australian Federal Police to provide a greater presence in its Sydney domestic terminal for months before Sunday's fatal bashing.

Page 4: US President Barack Obama has shown solidarity with Kevin Rudd in his quest to protect coal industry jobs, supporting continued development of clean coal technology.

Page 5: Carers, disability support pensioners and veterans have been guaranteed increases in their fortnightly payments in the Rudd Government's second budget.

Qantas will axe almost 80 senior managers and give others broader responsibilities as it moves to a leaner structure designed to get it through tough times.

Page 7: The feather-bedding of the pensions of teachers, nurses and other public sector workers has emerged as the single biggest factor limiting the ability of the states and territories to respond to the global financial crisis.

Compulsory superannuation has failed to reduce Australians' dependence on the age pension, which has climbed back to levels last seen in the mid-1980s.

We might be more environmentally astute, but Australian households are consuming almost 50 per cent more energy today than 20 years ago.

Page 8: The government of the Czech Republic lost a parliamentary no-confidence vote yesterday, ousting the centre-right administration of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

Page 9 Gordon Brown's campaign for a G20 agreement committing governments around the world to spend up on recession-busting fiscal stimulus packages has been undermined by an embarrassing warning that the British Prime Minister's own government cannot afford to follow his advice.

Business: Rio Tinto and Chinalco last night hailed a go-ahead from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as a significant step forward for their groundbreaking $US19.5 billion ($28 billion) alliance.

Administrators have labelled the collapse of Babcock & Brown as one of Australia's most spectacular corporate failures and given the investment bank's devastated creditors little hope of recouping any of the $650 million they are owed.

New National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne has predicted the global financial crisis could be bottoming out, as he laid down an ambitious agenda yesterday to redeem the battered reputation of the banking industry.

ANZ has outlined its growth strategy for the key market of China, including approvals for a new locally incorporated bank with 20 branches by 2012, as well as a new rural bank near the western city of Chongqing.

Brambles' Chep wooden pallet pooling business has lost a contract with units of US food and beverage firm PepsiCo, which will switch to plastic pallets supplied by a competitor from next month.

Pizza Hut and KFC - symbols of US hegemony around the world - have welcomed a new, Chinese stablemate as US companies seek access to the world's most populous nation.

Printing tsar Michael Hannan is set to sink more of his own money into embattled listed digital marketing services group BlueFreeway after his company IPMG yesterday put forward a proposal to privatise it.

If the best cure for feeling financially sick is discovering that lots of richer people have the same problem, then the 2009 BRW Executive Rich List will be a salutary tonic.

A federal court judge will today decide whether to wind up collapsed financial planning firm Storm Financial or allow an important creditors' meeting to go ahead.

The expiry of Oroton Group's Polo Ralph Lauren licence could be an earnings risk for the clothing and accessories retailer, which reported a first-half profit above expectations, analysts say.

Barack Obama plans to meet with about a dozen top bank executives to discuss his administration's plans to shore up the financial sector.

The US government's top financial regulators are channelling widespread outrage over retention bonuses at American International Group to quickly win authority they have sought for much of the past year to seize non-bank companies and freeze their contracts.

Bank of China has posted a 59 per cent slump in fourth-quarter net profit as its overseas investments were hit by the global financial turmoil.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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