Today's Business Headlines

29/04/2009 - 06:44

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EPA approves Karara but blocks satellite pit; Fortescue had only an MOU, says witness; NAB's swinging door; Building fund hit by crisis; Death of a tycoon - Pratt loses cancer fight

Today's Business Headlines

EPA approves Karara but blocks satellite pit
The Environmental Protection Authority has approved the development of Gindalbie Metals' $1.8 billion Karara magnetite project but is demanding that a satellite deposit containing about $500 million worth of hematite ore be left untouched. The West

Fortescue had only an MOU, says witness
Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest was worried in early 2005 that the media would discover a fax showing that a Chinese company believed it did not have a binding contract to finance the miner's Pilbara iron ore project, according to a witness statement by a former employee. The Fin Review

NAB's swinging door
National Australia Bank has left the door open to start raising interest rates on mortgages to ease pressure on funding costs, even as the Reserve Bank is again tipped to cut official cash rates. The Age

Building fund hit by crisis
Kevin Rudd's infrastructure guru has conceded that the world financial crisis will put the squeeze on the government's nation-building plan, forcing it to rely on cash-strapped state governments and the private sector to fund the balance. The Australian

Death of a tycoon - Pratt loses cancer fight
Billionaire packaging tycoon and philanthropist Richard Pratt died last night at his Raheen mansion in Melbourne surrounded by his family, a day after criminal charges against him were dropped. The Australian

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Eight West Australians were among 88 people nationally being tested for swine flu yesterday and health authorities were given extraordinary powers to detain the sick as the virus continued to spread around the world.

Page 3: The Water Corporation is pleading with people to reduce water use after consumption soared as customers guzzled more than a billion litres above targets during unseasonably warm, dry weather in the past week.

Page 6: Concerns are mounting within Cabinet that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will veto tough spending cuts in next month's budget because he fears a string backlash from middle Australia.

It could take more than a decade for those left unemployed by the global recession to find their way back into a job.

Page 7: Andrew Forrest new that one of Fortescue Metals Group's Chinese contracts had fallen through more than a month before he finally revealed to the sharemarket the true nature of the contracts, according to a key witness in the billionaire's federal court case.

Page 11: Premier Colin Barnett agreed with AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou's description yesterday of Subiaco Oval as the "least adequate" ground in Australia but continued to argue that WA could not afford a new stadium.

Page 12: WA childcare workers were underpaid $260,000 last year, with one young female short-changed $18,000 according to figures from the federal Workplace Ombudsman.

Page 17: Former WA premier Brian Burke will fight allegations he gave false and misleading evidence at a Corruption and Crime Commission inquiry at a two-week trial in November.

Business: National Australia Bank has left the door open to start raising interest rates on mortgages to ease pressure on funding costs, even as the Reserve Bank is again tipped to cut official cash rates.

The Environmental Protection Authority has approved the development of Gindalbie Metals' $1.8 billion Karara magnetite project but is demanding that a satellite deposit containing about $500 million worth of hematite ore be left untouched.

Corporate consultants are enjoying bumper conditions in the economic downturn, as the once lavishly-spending big end of town resorts to outside help cut the "fat" accumulated during the boom.

Launching a family business is not to be taken lightly, according to the co-founder of Perth's biggest surfwear retail chain.

Aurox Resources has started the clock running on a three-year plan to bring its Pilbara magnetite mine into production after receiving the final environmental green light.

Wholesale interest rate swaps that banks use to convert floating loans to fixed interest rate loans have fallen about 28 points from the peak reached last week, with three-year rates dropping to 3.81 per cent yesterday.

An offshoot of failed investment company Allco Finance is sett o emerge as the new owner of WA company Repcol's debt collection business.

BP returned to profit in the first quarter, beating analysts' forecasts by earning $US2.56 billion ($3.58 billion).

Department store chain Myer has put its new marketing program for suppliers on hold until at least next year, but insists the so-called Project Bullseye scheme has been a success.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: National Australia Bank has posted a robust first-half cash profit of $2 billion but the result was marred by worse-than-expected bad debt write-downs as the recession hits small and medium-sized business customers faster than expected.

With the benefit of more than a century of hindsight from Australia's life as a boom-crash commodity economy, it's not unreasonable to expect that the government's economic advisers would get it right.

Superannuation fees will come under scrutiny in a sweeping new review of the retirement savings system being set up by the federal government.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will urge premiers to support a renewable energy scheme that increases incentives to invest in clean power generation and expands assistance to heavy industry.

Page 3: Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest was worried in early 2005 that the media would discover a fax showing that a Chinese company believed it did not have a binding contract to finance the miner's Pilbara iron ore project, according to a witness statement by a former employee.

Page 5: Market expectation of an official interest rate cut next week have risen to an almost even-money chance after a downgrade of the nation's growth outlook and rising fears of a swine flu influenza pandemic.

Page 6: GM Holden has told its production workforce that the axing of the Pontiac brand by its US parent will not lead to job losses in Australia.

Page 9: West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has contradicted his Treasurer, Troy Buswell, by declaring he did not plan to preside over a budget deficit while he was premier.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd's infrastructure guru has conceded that the world financial crisis will put the squeeze on the government's nation-building plan, forcing it to rely on cash-strapped state governments and the private sector to fund the balance.

Billionaire packaging tycoon and philanthropist Richard Pratt died last night at his Raheen mansion in Melbourne surrounded by his family, a day after criminal charges against him were dropped.

A split over global warming has emerged in Kevin Rudd's cabinet after it was revealed that a 13-month-old photograph was published this month to support the view that a catastrophic melting of Antarctic ice was imminent.

Page 2: The Melbourne businessman due to pay embattled BrisConnections $77 million by close of business today is likely to be banned from his role as a company director if he is pursued for the money.

Page 3: Sales representatives from the international pharmaceutical giant that produced anti-arthritis drug Vioxx wined and dined scores of doctors at some of the country's most expensive restaurants, including Melbourne's Flowerdrum, Circa the Prince and Jacques Reymond.

Page 4: The National Australia Bank could hold back future official interest rate cuts from customers, despite making a $2.6 billion profit and forecasting households will be burdened with greater financial stress as unemployment starts to rise.

The next edition of The Monthly isn't due to be published until May 5, but it will be an issue worth reading.

Page 5: Federal grants of up to $1 million a year have been given to the major political parties and used to send members to overseas conferences, sometimes costing more than $50,000 a trip.

Economists and the federal opposition have backed the Treasury's view that it will take two years to pull out of the downturn, but there is division on whether the economy will bounce back to above-trend growth.

Holden has assured workers at its Adelaide factory that General Motors' decision to axe the Pontiac brand will not lead to local job losses, despite concerns raised by the latest blow to the auto industry.

Meal tax breaks for charity workers could be scrapped in next month's budget, highlighting the scale and scope of Treasury's desperate search for savings.

Page 7: Energy-hungry industries could be offered exemptions from the federal government's new 20 per cent renewable energy target, as Kevin Rudd struggles to win support for his climate change policies in the face of the global economic crisis.

Page 8: Kevin Rudd has vowed to commit whatever resources are needed to fight the swine flu menace, but stayed silent on the trigger points for action as other countries moved faster and harder to protect their borders.

Business: Stressed businesses and households around the nation will have to wait until 2011 before the return of normal economic conditions, according to new National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne.

Startling allegations in a witness statement from a former employee of Fortescue Metals Group has galvanised interest in the corporate watchdog's legal attempt to have its founder, Andrew Forrest, banned from acting as a director.

One-time Optus CEO and Packer family adviser Chris Anderson and former Telstra executive Doug Campbell are being considered by the federal government to chair its $43 billion national broadband network projects.

One of the China's biggest steel producers, Hubei Iron & Steel, has demanded that iron ore prices be slashed by at least 40 per cent this year as the crisis gripping the global steel industry continues to deepen.

Japan's steelmakers are suffering severe earnings attrition, underlined yesterday by Nippon Steel reporting a Y= 57 billion ($846 million) March quarter net loss, and yet analysts are increasingly calling a strong recovery for the sector.

Canadian agribusiness Viterra has made a conditional nonbinding $1.6 billion offer to buy Adelaide grain company ABB (former Australian Barley Board).

Rio Tinto shares have closed above $60 for the first time since BHP Billiton withdrew its $135 billion takeover bid, and are close to the strike price of the proposed Chinalco convertible bond issue.

Litigation giant Slater & Gordon is suing the ANZ Bank for allegedly recommending clients invest in a Basis Capital hedge fund that collapsed, owing investors $320 million.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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