24/04/2009 - 06:50

Today's Business Headlines

24/04/2009 - 06:50

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Judge slams deception by Hardie board; Fortescue ships out; Property group's earnings slashed; St Barbara shares plunge on production cuts, cost blowouts; Gindalbie boss 'embarrassed' over project approvals delay

Today's Business Headlines

Judge slams deception by Hardie board
Ten former directors and executives of building materials group James Hardie have been found to have breached their duties by making misleading statements about the firm's ability to pay asbestos compensation, in a decision that has wide-ranging implications for company boards. The Fin Review

Fortescue ships out
Fortescue Metals Group, Australia's third-biggest iron ore exporter, has been suspended by the Baltic Exchange, the world's largest shipping bourse. The Australian

Property group's earnings slashed
The market downturn has led Australia's biggest residential developer Stockland Group to slash its earnings guidance by 69 per cent, after reducing the carrying value of properties. The Australian

St Barbara shares plunge on production cuts, cost blowouts
Shares in St Barbara plunged nearly 17 per cent yesterday as the embattled miner dispelled hopes it was on track to turn around its ageing gold operations by slashing production forecasts after the latest in a series of cost blowouts. The West

Gindalbie boss 'embarrassed' over project approvals delay
Gindalbie Metals chairman George Jones has labelled WA's approvals process an "embarrassment", claiming yesterday that during the past three-and-a-half years his mining company had been waiting for environmental approval to build an iron ore mine its Chinese partner had managed to design and construct a $US5 billion ($7 billion) steel mill. The West

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Perth will lose Super 14 rugby club Western Force to another state unless the state government honours a pledge to upgrade Members Equity Stadium, a report has found.

Page 4: Treasurer Wayne Swan is facing a budget deficit of more than $50 billion amid warnings that excessive government spending will lumber the nation with huge debts and stop the Reserve Bank doing its job.

The clamour to become a new homebuyer is expected to peak over the next nine weeks after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said yesterday that the topped-up first-homebuyer grants would end on June 30.

More than one in six Perth households could be struggling to meet their mortgage repayments by the end of the year, a new report has found, as surging unemployment overwhelms the benefits of historically low interest rates.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has conceded that the unemployment rate could hit double digits next year as the recession tightens its grip on the economy.

Page 5: The federal government yesterday approved Minmetals' $US1.2 billion ($1.7 billion) bid to buy most of troubled miner OZ Minerals in what should become the second successful acquisition of an Australian mining company by a Chinese government-controlled group.

Timber mills in the South West are shedding staff at one of the fastest rates since the end of old growth logging as the economic downturn and tensions with Forestry Minister Terry Redman continue.

Page 11: The state's rock lobster fishermen won a small reprieve from tough restrictions after Acting Fisheries Minister Simon O'Brien announced operators could fish an extra day each week.

Desperate calls for help by out-of-work apprentices to the state government and the construction industry have been heard.

Business: Timbercorp, one of Australia's biggest horticultural and forestry investment managers, has called in administrators after failing in a last-ditch bid to renegotiate its debts.

Shares in St Barbara plunged nearly 17 per cent yesterday as the embattled miner dispelled hopes it was on track to turn around its ageing gold operations by slashing production forecasts after the latest in a series of cost blowouts.

Gindalbie Metals chairman George Jones has labelled WA's approvals process an "embarrassment", claiming yesterday that during the past three-and-a-half years his mining company had been waiting for environmental approval to build an iron ore mine its Chinese partner had managed to design and construct a $US5 billion ($7 billion) steel mill.

Albidon has lost its month-long fight for survival, yesterday calling in administrators after would-be white knight Jinchuan Group failed to reach agreement with one of its lenders in time.

Stockland has cut its profit forecast by two-thirds after Australia's second-biggest real estate company reduced the carrying value of properties because of the market downturn.

The James Packer-backed online job advertiser Seek plans to raise $100 million through a share placement to fund acquisitions.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Ten former directors and executives of building materials group James Hardie have been found to have breached their duties by making misleading statements about the firm's ability to pay asbestos compensation, in a decision that has wide-ranging implications for company boards.

Kirin Holdings is seeking to merge all of its Australian beer, dairy and fruit juice operations into one company through a $6 billion buy-out offer for the remaining 54 per cent of listed brewer Lion Nathan, the maker of Tooheys, XXXX and James Boag.

The federal government is considering releasing unusually long-term revenue and spending projections in the budget next month in an effort to underline its commitment to return to a surplus after what will be record deficits for the next few years.

Page 4: Employers must prove they are not sacking local staff and replacing them with temporary migrants before they will be approved to sponsor new 457 visa workers under tough new restrictions by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Page 7: The wider impact of the collapse of kitchen supplier Kleenmaid last week is expected to be even more damaging than the $76 million it owes to banks, customers, employees, suppliers, franchisee owners and the administrators.

Page 9: One of China's most senior steel industry figures has called on mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to accept the need for big falls in iron ore prices this year, claiming none of his country's steel mills are making a profit in the global economic downturn.

Page 11: James Hardie admitted yesterday it would not have sufficient money to compensate fully asbestos victims over the next two years, but said it would not consider alternative funding arrangements to alleviate the shortfall.

Page 15: The Australian Building and Construction Commission has warned that planned national protests against its operations could involve unlawful, industrial action, as unions intensify their campaign against special laws to police the industry.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: There are two battles being waged in the case between Graeme Peterson and international pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co over whether its anti-arthritis drug Vioxx caused his heart attack.

The Rudd government is considering breaking its self-imposed $200 billion limit on borrowings as it blows out the deficit to fight off the expected recession.

Kevin Rudd is facing a backlash from first-home buyers and the housing industry after he hinted that the $21,000 first-home buyers boost might not be extended in the budget, sparking fears of a collapse in property market confidence.

Former James Hardie chairwoman Meredith Hellicar quit the board of fund manager AMP yesterday, only hours after a judge delivered a damning verdict on her credibility.

Page 2: Mohammad Hadi Ahmadi is among a new era of asylum seekers receiving permanent visas in quick time. The Afghan arrived in Australian waters by boat from Indonesia just three months ago and yesterday flew out of Christmas Island to a new life.

Page 3: Billionaire Richard Pratt is pushing to defeat the legal case against him before he dies, with his lawyers last night winning an emergency hearing in the Federal Court today.

Page 4: The cost of national road projects under the nation's taxpayer-funded infrastructure program has blown out by up to 250 per cent, with the audit office putting some of the blame on hasty election promises.

The Rudd government is using the bleak International Monetary Fund report to soften us up for some very big budget numbers in very red ink.

Page 5: The debate over foreign investment is set to expand from the mining industry to agriculture as overseas investors pour billions of dollars into Australian rural properties considered by some to be strategic national assets.

A corruption case against former West Australian premier Brian Burke and his business partner has been adjourned for six weeks while prosecutors get "their act together".

Business: Plantation group Timbercorp's collapse yesterday has thrown a major part of Australia's rural industry into disarray, raising questions about the sustainability of urban-based schemes designed to minimise investors' tax liability.

The market downturn has led Australia's biggest residential developer Stockland Group to slash its earnings guidance by 69 per cent, after reducing the carrying value of properties.

Storm Financial talked many clients out of selling down their investment portfolios months before the market tanked last year in order to maintain revenue, former clients claim.

China's depressed steel market is expected to worsen following a dismal April, which saw all of the Asian superpower's steel mills post a loss, AnSteel says.

African-focused nickel miner Albidon has appointed administrators to allow the company to continue operating while it completes a financing deal with China's Jinchuan Group.

Fortescue Metals Group, Australia's third-biggest iron ore exporter, has been suspended by the Baltic Exchange, the world's largest shipping bourse.

Caltex is keen to acquire more local refineries and has identified preferred targets if worsening economic conditions lead global oil companies to put operations on the auction block.

Santos has delivered its lowest quarterly revenue in four years after being hit by slumping oil prices and production declines from ageing fields.

The chief financial officer of the beleaguered Pacific Brands clothing, underwear and footwear group Stephen Tierney is leaving the company after 19 years.

Discount supermarket chain Franklins has turned its business around, delivering a net profit of $3.6 million for the year ending February 28, after reporting an operating loss of $4.95 million the previous year.

More than 1 million Australian households will fall victim to mortgage stress if the national unemployment rate reaches the government's forecast 7.5 per cent, according to research.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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