06/05/2009 - 06:46

Today's Business Headlines

06/05/2009 - 06:46

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Health budget slashed as deficit nears $70bn; $800m marina for Ocean Reef; Voelte sees ETS changes as 'putting lipstick on a pig'; Forrest case stronger than Hardie - QC; BlueScope back for more

Today's Business Headlines

Health budget slashed as deficit nears $70bn
Treasurer Wayne Swan will next week unveil the biggest budget deficit since World War II, with Australia's finances likely to be in the red for at least the next six years. The West

$800m marina for Ocean Reef
Joondalup city council last night approved an $800 million plan to transform the Ocean Reef boat harbour into a world-class commercial and recreational marina. The West

Voelte sees ETS changes as 'putting lipstick on a pig'
Woodside Petroleum boss Don Voelte has attacked the Rudd government's changes to its emissions trading scheme, saying it still does not recognise gas exports are part of the solution. The Australian

Forrest case stronger than Hardie - QC
The corporate regulator has described its prosecution of Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest for allegedly breaching his director's duties as a "much stronger" case than it ran last month that found former James Hardie directors had committed the same offence. The Fin Review

BlueScope back for more
BlueScope Steel has tapped into investors' renewed optimism through a $1.4 billion capital raising as part of a major restructure of its depleted balance sheet. The Fin Review

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Treasurer Wayne Swan will next week unveil the biggest budget deficit since World War II, with Australia's finances likely to be in the red for at least the next six years.

Page 4: Premier Colin Barnett has warned the federal government to keep its hands off WA mining royalties as it considers a major review of the tax system.

Page 5: Joondalup city council last night approved an $800 million plan to transform the Ocean Reef boat harbour into a world-class commercial and recreational marina.

Page 7: Bali is the latest battleground for cut-throat airfare wars, with AirAsia announcing free flights to WA's favourite holiday destination to launch its new daily service.

Page 12: The first-homebuyer stampede has triggered a 70 per cent spike in Perth land sales but the average price of a block has fallen $9,000 in the three months to March, according to new figures.

Page 18: Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is being urged by the government and elements of his own party to develop a firm policy on carbon trading quickly or risk being labelled a climate change sceptic.

Business: Failed agribusiness group Timbercorp's administrators have no immediate plans to investigate related-party transactions among senior company executives.

Avoca Resources says a proposed takeover of Dioro Exploration would offer the merged group superior access to capital markets, greater institutional support and improved liquidity at a time of global uncertainty.

Lynas Corp chief executive Nick Curtis has defended a $500 million Chinese tie-up as the best alternative to "death by a thousand cuts" if the group was forced to seek another source of funding.

Shell Australia has taken a $328 million hit after being caught out by the collapse in oil prices and the fall in the Australian dollar, forcing it to a $137.7 million full-year loss.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission's misleading conduct case against billionaire Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest is "much stronger" than the landmark action it won against James Hardie directors last month, according to lawyers in the watchdog's Federal Court case.

BlueScope has moved to keep future refinancing demands of its banking syndicate at bay by securing a $2.1 billion-plus debt and equity restructuring.

Wild Child, the health care company backed by former Alinta chief executive Bob Browning, has shelved plans to raise as much as $40 million and list on the Australian Securities Exchange.

West Australian Newspapers Holdings has slashed its profit forecast after the advertising market worsened in the third quarter, but the new management is taking heart from rising circulation of its flagship masthead.

Property developer Port Bouvard's path to its ambitious multi-million-dollar proposal for a complete township in Gidgegannup seems to be one step closer, with the local action group giving it a qualified tick.

Perth's prime office market rent yields are at their highest rate in more than a decade, attracting the interest of would-be investors.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Reserve Bank of Australia is increasingly confident that local and international efforts to stem the deep economic downturn are gaining traction, signalling the period of big interest rate cuts might be over.

The Rudd government will squeeze defence industry profit margins, cut deeper into administration costs, axe private sector consultants and sell off surplus land to slash $20 billion from the defence budget.

BlueScope Steel has tapped into investors' renewed optimism through a $1.4 billion capital raising as part of a major restructure of its depleted balance sheet.

Page 3: In the latest corporate cost-cutting measure, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is asking all full-time staff to take between two and three weeks' unpaid leave before the end of January next year.

Companies are hitting the wall at the highest rate in 10 years, confirming that the recession has started to hit small business.

Page 5: The Rudd government will deliver a record deficit and warn of more red ink for at least six years in a grim federal budget that will impose severe spending cuts in an effort to achieve a surplus by June 2016.

Page 9: The corporate regulator has described its prosecution of Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Andrew Forrest for allegedly breaching his director's duties as a "much stronger" case than it ran last month that found former James Hardie directors had committed the same offence.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The pressure on the Rudd government to get its emissions trading policy right is starkly obvious for Labor's Greg Combet in his NSW Hunter Valley electorate.

Australia's biggest universities have been ravaged by the global financial crisis, with the University of Melbourne reporting a $245.7 million loss in the value of its investments, the University of NSW an $87 million writedown, and the University of Western Australia lost more than $100 million from its investment portfolio, resulting in a $63.9 million loss for the institution.

Page 4: Linking the pay of doctors and nurses to measures of how well they treat their patients, or how quickly they are seen, is likely to emerge as a key plank of the federal government's health reform push.

Australia's drug watchdog has warned consumers to stop using a range of weight-loss products bought on the internet from the US, after 23 reports of serious liver problems, including one death.

An American heart expert is being flown to Australia to testify for pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co that its anti-arthritis drug Vioxx could actually protect some people from having a heart attack, rather than cause one.

The Reserve Bank is increasingly confident that recovery is taking hold in China and East Asia but has held out the prospect of further rate cuts as the Australian economy continues to weaken.

Glenn Stevens has turned more bullish on China and less bearish on Australia. But he is still leaving the door open for further modest interest rate cuts.

Kevin Rudd's frantic search for spending cuts has forced him to dump plans to rewrite drought assistance funding arrangements in next Tuesday's budget.

Page 7: The Rudd government is in negotiations with the coal industry and electricity generators about possible further changes to its emissions trading scheme, despite demanding a definitive response from the coalition to its delayed and softened plan.

Government moves to sell exploration rights on the seabed for underground storage of carbon emissions have been slowed by the complexity of framing regulations to govern the new system.

Page 8: Business groups praised the Brumby government's jobs-focused response to the global financial crisis but the Victorian opposition said Treasurer John Lenders managed to keep the state in surplus only because of federal government bailouts.

Victorian government departments will be told to rein in spending as treasury battles to offset a slump in revenue and investment returns.

Page 10: ACT government will be in deficit for at least the next seven years, with the global recession and the collapse in commonwealth revenue robbing Jon Stanhope's Labor government of about $1.1 billion.

Business: BlueScope Steel is making another call on shareholders for cash, with a $1.4 billion rights issue to pay down debt amid the global economic crisis.

Trans-Tasman media group APN News and Media has warned the tough times for the media sector are far from over, announcing its second major profit downgrade in less than three months.

The Reserve Bank has refreshed the prospect that traditional safeguards of China and commodity prices will lead Australia's recovery from recession in the next year.

Woodside Petroleum boss Don Voelte has attacked the Rudd government's changes to its emissions trading scheme, saying it still does not recognise gas exports are part of the solution.

OZ Minerals chief Andrew Michelmore is leading an executive exodus to head the Australian operations of China Minmetals, acquired in its $US1.2 billion rescue package for the miner.

The Reserve Bank has refreshed the prospect that traditional safeguards of China and commodity prices will lead Australia's recovery from recession in the next year.

Noble Group is now offering almost double Gloucester Coal's share price before that company announced its pre-emptive merger proposal with Whitehaven Coal but, thanks to a backflip by the Takeovers Review Panel, but it's still by no means certain that Gloucester shareholders will ever get the opportunity to consider the Noble bid.

Australia's mid-tier miners are firmly in survival mode after the sector's market value halved at the end of last year, losing $32.6 billion as commodity prices plunged and demand dried up.

European Union finance ministers have approved plans to double emergency loans available to struggling Eastern European members to billion ($90 billion).

A collapse in employment advertising in the March quarter has helped drag West Australian Newspapers Holdings to a fall in normalised net profit, as the company has also downgraded its estimated full-year earnings.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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