30/04/2009 - 06:45

Today's Business Headlines

30/04/2009 - 06:45

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Fortescue takes axe to $400m in costs; ANZ slumps on rising bad debt; Low rates boost WA housing market; Turnbull sets new ETS plan; Lower costs help nickel miners lift earnings

Today's Business Headlines

Fortescue takes axe to $400m in costs
Fortescue Metals Group is taking the axe to its Pilbara operations to save $400 million a year after operational problems forced the iron ore miner to cut its sales target for a second time in four months. The West

ANZ slumps on rising bad debt
A deepening Australian recession is poised to push ANZ's lending losses to as much as $3 billion this year as higher-than-expected bad debt charges caused the banking giant to be hit with a 43 per cent slump in first-half earnings. Sydney Morning Herald

Low rates boost WA housing market
Home sales across WA have risen to their highest level in nine months on the back of low interest rates and the boost in the first-homebuyer's grant. The West

Turnbull sets new ETS plan
Malcolm Turnbull will use an independent economic report on the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme to demand major changes including a better deal for big polluters and tougher emissions-reduction targets as his price for considering support. The Australian

Lower costs help nickel miners lift earnings
Kambalda nickel miners Independence Group and Mincor Resources yesterday gave embattled investors a timely boost, declaring quarterly profits and cash inflows despite the price of the stainless steel metal trading at four-year lows. The West

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Home sales across WA have risen to their highest level in nine months on the back of low interest rates and the boost in the first-homebuyer's grant.

Page 4: Oil giant BP is to spend $150,000 on an energy education program for high schools, prompting concerns that it will give children a one-sided view of the issue.

Page 10: Peter Costello has laid the foundation stone for the coalition's re-election strategy for next year and, like the strategy John Howard employed against Paul Keating in 1996, it is debt.

The biggest health fund in WA, HBF, has launched a pre-emptive strike against mooted federal government cuts to eligibility for the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate.

Page 18: Homeowners face higher interest rates as the big four banks try to protect their bottom lines from rising bad debts and higher borrowing costs.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group is taking the axe to its Pilbara operations to save $400 million a year after operational problems forced the iron ore miner to cut its sales target for a second time in four months.

Kambalda nickel miners Independence Group and Mincor Resources yesterday gave embattled investors a timely boost, declaring quarterly profits and cash inflows despite the price of the stainless steel metal trading at four-year lows.

Veteran company director Elizabeth Proust says companies are missing out on qualified candidates because of fears over liability amid mounting shareholder and media scrutiny.

A deepening Australian recession is poised to push ANZ's lending losses to as much as $3 billion this year as bad debt charges caused the banking giant to be hit with a 43 per cent slump in first-half earnings.

Would-be corporate leaders of the future will mix with the state's current breed of business royalty on Sunday when Premier Colin Barnett cuts the ribbon on UWA's long-awaited new business school.

One of WA's biggest new mining developments is on the brink of a funding deal which will reinforce the growing significance of the state's lesser known commodities.

A Belmont small business centre may have to close its doors after the sudden loss of its state funding.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Page 1: A sudden surge in the number of companies defaulting on loans in March has caught Australia and New Zealand Banking Group by surprise, forcing it to top up provisions against bad debts and sparking a second day of steep falls in bank stocks.

The federal government is considering revamping the first-homeowners scheme in the budget to offset the cost of a new mandatory energy efficiency building code.

The mobile phone industry will intensify its lobbying efforts to grab control of the radio frequency spectrum that will be freed up when the analogue television signal is switched off in 2013, a move that is expected to raise at least $1 billion for federal coffers.

Page 3: Health Minister Nicola Roxon has warned Australia has little chance of escaping the global swine flu outbreak despite moves to toughen screening at international airports.

Page 5: The federal government faces a battle in the upper house over its $200 billion cap on Commonwealth borrowing as the coalition warns against any increase in national debt while economists predict the limit will have to be raised.

Page 7: The federal opposition has been given the green light to dump support for emissions trading altogether after a review it commissioned into the government's scheme said other approaches, such as carbon tax, should be considered.

Page 9: The West Australian government is looming as a potential roadblock to the billions in annual savings the federal government's Productivity Commission believes could be achieved through regulatory reform of the oil and gas industry.

Page 15: Australasian dairy behemoth Fonterra will axe 140 jobs from an ice-cream factory in Perth after agreeing to sell the Peters brands in Western Australia to Nestlé and another licence for Cadbury ice-cream to Bulla in a $40 million deal.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: At dawn yesterday, barely 12 hours after his father's death, Anthony Pratt drove to Visy's packaging plants in Melbourne and prowled the factory floors alone. It was the same daily routine his father had followed for 40 years.

Malcolm Turnbull will use an independent economic report on the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme to demand major changes including a better deal for big polluters and tougher emissions-reduction targets as his price for considering support.

Page 2: The federal government will boost troop levels in the Afghan conflict from 1100 to 1550 soldiers in a war Kevin Rudd acknowledges is getting more unpopular with Australians and will result in more combat deaths.

A long-planned planned makeover of the Australian War Memorial began yesterday at an estimated cost of $18 million.

Page 5: The publisher of The Monthly magazine, Morry Schwartz, believes that he, not former editor Sally Warhaft, is responsible for the recent success of the magazine.

Sales of new homes rose for the third straight month to their highest level since late 2007, prompting further calls for Kevin Rudd to extend the first-home buyers boost in next month's budget.

A paid parental leave scheme must be included in next month's budget because it is "absolutely critical" to keep women in the workforce and ensure tens of billions of dollars spent on education are not wasted.

Investment in the resource industry is holding up, despite tumbling commodities prices, and is set to support the economy through this year and next, along with big infrastructure spending by state governments.

Business: ANZ has shocked financial markets with a 28 per cent plunge in profit, dragged down by escalating bad debts, loans in arrears and punishing hits from the worsening rush of corporate collapses.

Mike Smith says Australia's recession is playing out as the ANZ Bank has been forecasting for the best part of a year.

BrisConnections will start sending out default notices to unitholders who failed to meet yesterday's deadline for a second instalment payment on their units, as underwriters Macquarie Group and Deutsche continue to tangle on the sidelines.

Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group has slashed its annual iron ore sales forecasts by 15 per cent and reported a 66 per cent slump in third-quarter earnings as prices dropped and wet weather hampered production.

Spurned Babcock & Brown Capital suitor TaemasBridge has challenged chairman Kerry Roxburgh to publicly confirm that its Irish telco subsidiary Eircom will not breach a senior debt covenant if its current earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation is maintained for the next 24 months.

Banking analysts yesterday reduced their full-year earnings estimates for National Australia Bank by 5-13 per cent, bringing down price targets accordingly, despite new chief executive Cameron Clyne's generally well-received debut half-year profit announcement.

OZ Minerals shares rose more than 5 per cent yesterday on expectations the miner would announce today that its banks had granted a debt extension to finalise the $US1.2 billion ($1.7 billion) deal with China Minmetals.

Beef producer Australian Agricultural Company has appointed independent director Brett Heading as chairman.

After 40 years and 4 billion barrels of crude, the nation's biggest oilfields in Bass Strait are in decline, but recent drilling shows less than half the region's vast gas reserves have been tapped.

The slumping US economy barely improved early this year, with businesses slashing spending and inventories, according to a surprising report indicating the recession didn't ease as much as expected.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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