Today's Business Headlines

14/05/2009 - 06:47

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Companies seek capital as confidence buoys market; BG wins first big Chinese gas deal; WA adjusts its numbers; Chinalco deal under cloud; Changes sap super - analysts

Today's Business Headlines

Companies seek capital as confidence buoys market
Western Areas and Macmahon Holdings were last night raising a total of nearly $100 million, joining the growing number of Australian companies looking to cash in on the sharemarket upswing to replenish their coffers. The West

BG wins first big Chinese gas deal
Australia's liquefied coal seam gas industry took a big leap forward yesterday when China National Offshore Oil Corp signed the first major supply deal with BG Group and agreed to take a stake in its $8 billion gas export plans. The Australian

WA adjusts its numbers
West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell hands down his first budget today, but he is already looking at "re-jigging" finances for future years to accommodate the federal government's contribution to infrastructure projects, which was revealed in Tuesday's budget. The Fin Review

Chinalco deal under cloud
Signs Rio Tinto's $US19.5 billion ($A25.4 billion) deal with Chinalco is under threat strengthened yesterday with reports the miner is preparing a $A9.9 billion rights issue. The Courier-Mail

Changes sap super - analysts
The Rudd government's clampdown on superannuation could cost financial services companies such as AMP and AXA Asia Pacific as much as $3 billion in annual fund flows, amid claims that changes to retirement savings are short-term measures designed to plug the federal deficit. The Age

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: WA, the economic powerhouse of Australia, has been short-changed at least $600 million in the Rudd government's "nation building" infrastructure plan to protect the country from the global recession.

Page 5: The federal government may face a battle getting its plan to means test the private health insurance rebate through the Senate.

Page 6: The federal government says it will consider a radical proposal to force Australians to wait until they are 67 to access their superannuation.

Page 7: Economists are split on the federal government's economic forecasts, with some believing they are too rosy and others saying they are too bleak.

Page 10: A jobs incentive package and record infrastructure spending are expected to be at the heart of today's state budget, with Treasurer Troy Buswell telling Parliament yesterday his first set of accounts would be "about protecting jobs".

Page 16: Distillers are the big losers with $424 million netted from alcopop taxes still in government coffers after Senate approval to retain the revenue collected since April last year.

Page 18: One of Perth's oldest yacht clubs is set for a multi-million-dollar facelift under expansion plans by the Perth Flying Squadron Yacht Club.

Business: Western Areas and Macmahon Holdings were last night raising a total of nearly $100 million, joining the growing number of Australian companies looking to cash in on the sharemarket upswing to replenish their coffers.

Revealing the multi-million-dollar costs set to hit Alcoa Australia's bottom line under the proposed emissions trading scheme, chief financial officer Tom Adams said yesterday he did not believe future emissions targets could be met without the use of nuclear power.

Commonwealth Bank yesterday underlined the difficulties facing the Rudd government's recession-busting budget with a warning the tide of bad debts was spreading at an increasing rate among homeowners and small businesses.

The small business sector has applauded the Rudd government for stepping up to the plate and backing the sector in tough economic times.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Some of the nation's largest sharemarket-listed companies, including Wesfarmers, have frozen or postponed their employee share schemes following the budget changes to taxation arrangements on share and option packages.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has declared his readiness to increase government spending of the global recession deepens, as he hit back at coalition accusations yesterday that the federal budget was based on falsely optimistic growth projections.

The federal budget has drawn plenty of heat for its forecasts of record budget deficits, but bond traders can hardly contain their excitement.

Page 3: The Australian Taxation Office has backed down on extending payment of the 9 per cent superannuation guarantee levy to overtime and other allowances, reversing a decision that business claimed would have cost $1 billion.

Page 4: Minter Ellison has become the latest national law firm to announce redundancies, sacking 11 lawyers and 24 support staff from its Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane offices.

Page 5: The Rudd government will today introduce its long-awaited emissions trading scheme legislation into parliament, adding pressure on the coalition to announce details of its climate change policy.

Page 7: West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell hands down his first budget today, but he is already looking at "re-jigging" finances for future years to accommodate the federal government's contribution to infrastructure projects, which was revealed in Tuesday's budget.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd's pledge to limit future spending growth to 2 per cent has cost the government its ability to make lavish election promises to pursue an ambitious reform agenda for at least six years.

Drinkers have turned to beer and spirits in the wake of Kevin Rudd's alcopops tax, boosting Treasury coffers by up to $393 million in the process.

Choking back tears, veteran ambulance officer Wayne Sachs flicked through a photo album of graphic road crash scenes in front of startled Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.

Page 2: A Chinese tycoon who refuses to condemn the Tiananmen Square massacre has taken over the peak body of Australia's overseas students, the National Liaison Committee.

The Independent Gambling Authority will today begin using its royal commission-style powers to vet newly elected members of the troubled South Australian Jockey Club.

Page 4: Australian staff of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co sought to delay a federal government review into the safety and pricing of its blockbuster anti-arthritis drug Vioxx.

Page 5: Financial markets have backed the budget with enthusiastic bidding for a government bond tender yesterday and a big jump in the value of the Australian dollar, even as economists said its forecasts verged on heroic.

Gloomy projections revenues have sent through the premiers treasurers.

Page 6: Premier Colin Barnett has acknowledged that the Rudd government's $1.2 billion budget contribution to his state's infrastructure is beyond expectations.

Page 7: Elderly people will be driven on to unemployment benefits and poverty after the rise in the aged-pension age to 67, a major seniors lobby group has warned.

Page 8: Up to 300 jobs could be lost at Victoria's Williamstown dockyard after Australia's biggest defence company failed to win a share of a $450 million contract for the navy's new Air Warfare Destroyers.

West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell has revealed the state that helped drive the nation's record surpluses for the past five years will slide into deficit within two years.

Page 9: of Australia's biggest pathology companies, Healthscope, expects the government's budget crackdown on the sector to fuel more taxpayer spending on pathology than before the cuts were made.

Business: Australia's liquefied coal seam gas industry took a big leap forward yesterday when China National Offshore Oil Corp signed the first major supply deal with BG Group and agreed to take a stake in its $8 billion gas export plans.

Global financial markets are expected to absorb the sharp increase in Australian government bond issues, with the low national credit risk and relatively bright economic prospects underpinning investor interest.

The freefall in global financial markets had been arrested, but there were no signs of any "green shoots" spreading into the real economy, Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris said yesterday.

CSR has emerged from its worst financial performance on record unwilling to provide shareholders with guidance on its prospects in the next year because of the uncertain economic climate.

New tax measures brought down in the budget run the risk of creating a net outflow of professionals and executives from Australia at the same time as option-holding executives coming into Australia may well be hit with an upfront tax bill, according to major accounting firms.

When John Haralambides and his wife Caroline decided to open a health food supplements and naturopathic clinic two years ago, they didn't expect to be snowed under by the sheer volume of paperwork required to keep the business running.

Technology companies supplying the Department of Defence will bear the brunt of a $185 million cut in federal government funding.

Rio Tinto shares suffered their biggest fall in three weeks yesterday on increasing speculation the company is considering a rights issue to replace its $US19.5 billion Chinalco rescue package.

Qantas chair Leigh Clifford has broken ranks with the Business Council of Australia by calling for a carbon tax, instead of an emissions trading scheme, once the economy settles down.

After failing in his bid for OZ Minerals' Martabe gold project in Indonesia, former Oxiana boss Owen Hegarty has struck a deal to run the planned mine and start a new regional gold miner.

The extent of this week's profit downgrade by Fairfax Media has surprised analysts, with some cutting recommendations and target prices on the stock.

Santos will raise the full $3 billion it is chasing from shareholders after completing a $1.75 billion institutional rights offer and getting the upcoming $1.25 billion retail offer fully underwritten.

Nissan has booked its first annual net loss since president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn took the helm of the Japanese carmaker in 1999, and it has warned that the red ink will continue this year.

Hitachi the conglomerate that makes everything from whitegoods to electrical generators, has declared a Y=787.3 billion ($10.6 billion) net loss, the deepest of the current Japanese annual earnings season.

The Obama administration has begun serious talks about how it can change compensation practices across the financial services sector, including at companies that did not receive federal bailout money.

Lawyers began arguments this week to determine whether Tony Chan, a bartender-turned-feng shui master, will become one of the richest men in the world.

Companies are rushing to raise money at the most frenzied pace in years and are finding eager investors, a sign that markets are beginning to heal themselves. It is a startling shift.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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