08/04/2009 - 06:43

Today's Business Headlines

08/04/2009 - 06:43

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Rudd's $43bn fast web gamble; Telstra rallies on NBN hope; Banks under fire for holding on to RBA rate cut; Foundation Japanese customer signs up for more Shelf gas; Iluka slashes jobs as debt rises on zircon weakness

Today's Business Headlines

Rudd's $43bn fast web gamble
The global recession has forced Kevin Rudd to scrap plans for a high-speed national broadband network funded by the private sector and wager at least $21.9 billion of taxpayers' money to fund his election pledge to bring internet speeds into the 21st century. The Australian

Telstra rallies on NBN hope
Hopes that Telstra will be able to negotiate a role in the government's new $43 billion broadband network yesterday swamped investor concern about the threat of new laws designed to hobble the nation's dominant telecommunications company. The Australian

Banks under fire for holding on to RBA rate cut
The major banks are shaping up for a battle with the Rudd government after refusing to pass on to their customers the Reserve Bank of Australia's modest 0.25 of a percentage point cut in official interest rates. The Fin Review

Foundation Japanese customer signs up for more Shelf gas
The Woodside Petroleum-operated North West Shelf venture has renewed liquefied natural gas contracts with its Japanese foundation customers that could be worth up to $US695.6 million ($974.6 million). The West

Iluka slashes jobs as debt rises on zircon weakness
Iluka Resources' hard-won status as a surprise market darling has come under serious threat after the WA mineral sands miner warned of big production cuts and a debt blow-out because of a sudden deterioration in the global zircon market. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Two of the nation's biggest banks - NAB and Commonwealth - have snubbed their customers and refused to match the Reserve Bank's quarter percentage point cut in official interest rates announced yesterday.

Homes will be hard-wired into the 21 st century under an audacious $43 billion plan to roll out the world's fastest internet across the nation.

Page 3: Oil giant BP has been accused of greed as it prepares to push up petrol prices by as much as 17 cents a litre today, just two days before the Easter long weekend.

Page 4: The Reserve Bank board did not have to wait long to realise the dangers of its quarter percentage point cut in official interest rates.

Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri was last night endorsed as Labor's candidate for the Fremantle by-election.

Margaret River vineyards are turning away workers as the economic downturn and rising number of international backpackers makes the labour shortage a distant memory.

The pay packets of the chief executives of Australia's top 100 sharemarket-listed companies doubled between 2001 and 2007, growing at a rate more than five times inflation.

Business: Iluka Resources' hard-won status as a surprise market darling has come under serious threat after the WA mineral sands miner warned of big production cuts and a debt blow-out because of a sudden deterioration in the global zircon market.

The Woodside Petroleum-operated North West Shelf venture has renewed liquefied natural gas contracts with its Japanese foundation customers that could be worth up to $US695.6 million ($974.6 million).

Telstra could be forced to sell its high-speed cable network and its stake in Foxtel under a regulatory regime set to be introduced as the new national broadband network is built.

Former AWB finance boss Mark Hosking will take up the reins at Futuris later this month as part of the embattled rural conglomerate's attempts to distance itself from the legacy of former chief executive Les Wozniczka.

Equinox Minerals has become the latest in a long line of miners to tap equity markets, yesterday flagging a $180 million fundraising, one week after reporting a bumper $US173 million ($254 million) 2008 profit.

Investor uncertainty over Rio Tinto's $US19.5 billion ($27.3 billion) Chinalco tie-up contributed to a 10 per cent fall in the miner's shares yesterday, but analysts also suggested the stock was taking a breather after a recent string rally.

China is likely to emerge from its slump this year, helping the rest of Asia stabilise and possibly rebound, according to the World Bank.

Creditors of Opes Prime Stockbroking are unlikely to receive distributions from a proposed $253 million settlement until at least late November, after a timetable for court hearings and creditor meetings was pushed back.

WA promoter Mladen Ninkov's Griffin Mining has abandoned a $31 million bid for control of the Magellan lead mine, through which it planned to expand its WA presence.

Property: Perth's city vacancy rate blew out by more than 2 per cent in the first three months of this year, and forecasts suggest it will continue to rise as the economy softens.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The major banks are shaping up for a battle with the Rudd government after refusing to pass on to their customers the Reserve Bank of Australia's modest 0.25 of a percentage point cut in official interest rates.

The Rudd government has vowed to build a $43 billion national broadband network that is four times the cost originally expected but could offer households internet speeds 10 times faster than promised at the 2007 federal election.

Page 4: Fortescue Metals Group boss Andrew Forrest and his executives had not misled investors by overstating agreements with Chinese parties, a court has heard.

Page 5: More than 1,000 people received their marching orders from large employers yesterday, as mining company Rio Tinto and professional services firm KPMG cut hundreds of staff.

Page 9: The Productivity Commission will examine how varying tax, regulation and governance arrangements could affect the effectiveness of the non-profit sector, under an issues paper released yesterday.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The global recession has forced Kevin Rudd to scrap plans for a high-speed national broadband network funded by the private sector and wager at least $21.9 billion of taxpayers' money to fund his election pledge to bring internet speeds into the 21st century.

Forget foggy three-minute YouTube clips labouring to reach your computer. Kevin Rudd's 100-megabits-per-second future will come to you in real time.

Consumers and businesses are likely to see little of the 0.25 per cent interest rate cut ordered by the Reserve Bank yesterday as banks protest they cannot afford to pass on the benefit.

Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has resigned as a director of the think tank he founded to lead the indigenous responsibilities agenda and declared he would return to his activist roots to campaign for land rights.

Indonesian legal and banking authorities have blocked Australian prosecutors' attempts to retrieve, as proceeds of crime, more than $280,000 Schapelle Corby received for her tell-all book.

Page 2: Home owners are expected to swamp banks trying to refinance from high fixed-rate mortgages after yesterday's 25-basis-point interest rate cut.

Page 3: The nation's drug watchdog is being asked to ban the sale of a herbal weight-loss product on the grounds that it could harm or even kill people, amid claims an active ingredient has been linked to cases of heart complaints overseas.

Page 4: Kevin Rudd's broadband plan is based on an unpopular technology and breaks his promise to provide coverage for 98 per cent of the nation, Malcolm Turnbull has declared.

Page 5: Internet users can expect to pay about $100 a month to access the federal government's new high-speed broadband network, more than three times today's average rate.

Business: Hopes that Telstra will be able to negotiate a role in the government's new $43 billion broadband network yesterday swamped investor concern about the threat of new laws designed to hobble the nation's dominant telecommunications company.

China's recovery from its economic downturn will start this year, taking "full hold" next year and helping stabilise the whole Asia-Pacific region.

National job cuts in the mining sector have hit more than 12,000 after Rio Tinto slashed a further 700 from its Queensland workforce.

Flight Centre has forecast annual profit to fall by more than two-thirds because of a slump in air travel caused by the slowing global economy.

Tensions between BrisConnections and Nicholas Bolton have increased after the dissident unitholder asked whether a draft Macquarie Group proposal to bail out retail investors had been released early to influence the proxy count ahead of next week's unitholder meeting.

The federal government has signalled its resolve to do everything necessary to curtail Telstra's dominance of the Australian telecommunications market.

The newly announced CEO of printing and distribution group PMP, Richard Allely, will take a large cut in base pay and incentives compared with his predecessor, Brian Evans.

Qantas group executive John Borghetti, who was in the running to replace Geoff Dixon as chief executive officer last year, will leave the airline next month after 36 years with the company.

A private equity fund that is 49-per cent owned by Macquarie Group is in talks with Singapore banks to refinance a $S646 million ($600 million) loan.

Moves to streamline Australia's national access regime will boost Fortescue Metals Group's campaign to force BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to allow rivals to use their Pilbara railways.


STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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