Today's Business Headlines

05/05/2009 - 06:48

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Rio eyes a compromise; Credit cloud set to delay expansion of airport; House prices fall at fastest rate for 25 years; US order gets Austal back on course; Fortescue says no harm done over Chinese deal

Today's Business Headlines

Rio eyes a compromise
Rio Tinto is considering changes to a key component of its $US19.5 billion ($26.5 billion) rescue deal with Chinalco, in a move designed to appease shareholders and the Rudd government. The Australian

Credit cloud set to delay expansion of airport
International ratings agency Moody's has cast doubt on the expansion of Perth Airport, questioning whether the owners will be able to raise the finance for the $1 billion project. The West

House prices fall at fastest rate for 25 years
House prices are falling at their fastest pace in at least a quarter of a century and there are just half the number of job advertisements as a year ago, but a Reserve Bank board meeting in Sydney today is expected to conclude that another interest rate cut is not needed. Sydney Morning Herald

US order gets Austal back on course
Austal managing director Bob Browning believes market conditions are beginning to rebound, with the US Navy's go-ahead for construction of a second littoral combat ship from the Perth-based shipbuilder's American yards extending the value of work won in the past four weeks to more than $500 million. The Fin Review

Fortescue says no harm done over Chinese deal
Even if Fortescue Metals Group was found guilty of "misleading and deceptive" conduct by promoting agreements with Chinese investors as binding four years ago, it should not be fined because no harm was done, the Federal Court was told yesterday. The West

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd's dramatic reworking of the emissions trading scheme to win political and business backing has crashed at the first hurdle, with opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull and minor parties dismissing the changes.

Page 3: In the small, aptly named Daylight Close in Perth's northern suburbs, residents are divided over how they will vote in the daylight saving referendum on May 16.

Page 4: Just when everyone was administering the last rites to Kevin Rudd's original emissions trading scheme, the prime minister attempted to deliver chief mourner Malcolm Turnbull a twostep sucker punch.

Households will be able to claim some of the cost of cutting their greenhouse gas emissions as tax deductions under a Carbon Trust revealed yesterday.

The federal government's decision to break its election pledge on emissions trading is sitting well with some conservation and business groups.

Page 5: International ratings agency Moody's has cast doubt on the expansion of Perth Airport, questioning whether the owners will be able to raise the finance for the $1 billion project.

Page 9: Environment Minister Donna Faragher's husband no longer works at gas giant Woodside, just months after his wife's appointment to the portfolio prompted a conflict of interest furore.

Page 10: Perth house prices have had their biggest three-month fall on record and retreated to where they were three years ago, wiping out the capital gains enjoyed by many homeowners during the property boom.

The number of job advertisements has fallen for the thirteenth time in the past 14 months but it is unlikely the bad economic news will persuade the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates when it meets today.

Page 11: Oil and gas giant Apache Northwest is seeking a Federal Court order to stop the Department of Mines and Petroleum from giving Apache's confidential papers to an inquiry to last year's Varanus Gas blast.

Business: Investors scrambling to rebalance underweight share portfolios yesterday sent the Australian stockmarket to its highest close for the year.

A discreet wink fro, Morgan Hart to Mark Clark said more than words. Along with their former fellow Equigold executive Nick Giorgetta, the WA raiders had just pulled off a coup by rolling the board of Melbourne-based Regis Resources and installing themselves in their place.

Even if Fortescue Metals Group was found guilty of "misleading and deceptive" conduct by promoting agreements with Chinese investors as binding four years ago, it should not be fined because no harm was done, the Federal Court was told yesterday.

Coventry Group has dealt a blow to shareholders demanding it reinstate dividends by warning that it will not match last year's annual profit.

Robust investment backed by stimulus spending will likely help China's economy to expand 7 per cent in the second quarter, showing the economy may be rebounding from the financial crisis, according to a government-affiliated think-tank yesterday.

WA shipbuilder Austal will build a second ship for the US Navy amid speculation that a major contract to build 55 of the new-generation Littoral Combat Ships may be split, guaranteeing the company a steady stream of military work over the next 10 years.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs JBWere have called the bottom for iron ore spot prices, tipping them to reach their lows this quarter as demand from China rebounds.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has sought to win business support for his approach to an emissions trading scheme by announcing sweeping changes, including delaying its start date to 2011, beginning with a fixed $10-a-tonne carbon price and raising assistance to heavy industry.

A wide-ranging package of reforms to business taxation is being canvassed by the Henry tax review to boost investment and reduce the complexity of the tax system, as big business demands a radical new federal-state tax agreement.

Page 3: Industry groups are bracing for cuts to the $67.4 billion in annual tax concessions in next week's federal budget, as the Rudd government seeks to make up for some of the severe losses anticipated from the global recession.

Page 4: The Reserve Bank of Australia's board is expected to leave interest rates on hold when it meets today, despite evidence that the recession has delivered a hefty blow to household wealth from falling house prices and caused a record plunge in job vacancies.

Falls in the top and middle segments of the housing market have outweighed the resurgent activity of first-homebuyers, to cause an overall drop in house prices.

Page 20: Austal managing director Bob Browning believes market conditions are beginning to rebound, with the US Navy's go-ahead for construction of a second littoral combat ship from the Perth-based shipbuilder's American yards extending the value of work won in the past four weeks to more than $500 million.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd has reneged on his election pledge to introduce emissions trading next year, winning broad business and environmental support for a delayed scheme with a softer economic impact during the recession but possibly tougher reduction targets in the longer term.

Tumbling house prices at the top end are dragging the national housing market lower, despite the influx of first-home buyers.

Page 2: Kim Beazley claims that, at this time of year, "nothing is better than being in a budget meeting".

US officials believe a $10 million ($13.6 million) contract led by the CSIRO to a Chinese government subsidiary threatens the security of a new American military communications base in Western Australia.

Page 3: The international pharmaceutical giant behind anti-arthritis drug Vioxx maintains there is not enough scientific proof to link the drug to heart attacks, despite the company withdrawing it from the market almost five years ago.

Page 4: Kevin Rudd has retained a strong lead over Malcolm Turnbull as preferred prime minister despite a five-percentage-point slide in Labor's primary vote.

Business: Rio Tinto is considering changes to a key component of its $US19.5 billion ($26.5 billion) rescue deal with Chinalco, in a move designed to appease shareholders and the Rudd government.

The Macquarie Group share price held up strongly yesterday as institutional funds that missed out on last week's capital raising took stock positions in the investment bank.

Brian Hartzer, ANZ's chief executive of Australian operations, will leave the bank to take up an offshore position in a move that completes a senior executive makeover following the October 2007 arrival of chief executive Mike Smith.

Explosives maker Orica has flagged a tougher second half as the global economic crisis continues to rein in mining plans, but says it still expects to log a record full-year profit.

Optimists including US President Barack Obama, claim to see the green shoots of recovery. This might keep local interest rates on hold today, along with the convention - if this is still observed - that it is important not to implicitly challenge the budget by moving rates immediately before its presentation.

The Australian share market finished about 3 per cent higher yesterday, reaching a six-month high, as resources stocks gained on the back of higher commodities prices.

Government concerns about Chinese companies operating in sensitive military areas are about to be tested again after iron ore hopeful Western Plains Resources signed a $45 million deal with China's third-largest steelmaker.

SingTel, parent company of Optus, has snared a $500 million contract to supply ANZ Bank with core telephony and data services for the next five years.

Count Financial has downgraded its profit estimates for the second time in three months and announced plans to cut final dividend, after the financial crisis wiped billions of dollars off the value of its funds under advice in the past year.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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