02/06/2009 - 06:47

Today's Business Headlines

02/06/2009 - 06:47

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Woodside eyes Chevron gas for Pluto expansion; China rejects iron ore price deal; Councils eye court action over losses; Chinalco baulks on Rio funding; Regulator to crack down on auditors

Today's Business Headlines

Woodside eyes Chevron gas for Pluto expansion
Woodside Petroleum has come up with a field development plan for the big Wheatstone gasfield while its owner Chevron Corp urges the federal government to renew the field's controversial retention leases. The West

China rejects iron ore price deal
Australia's iron ore producers are facing a showdown with their biggest customer after China's leading steel negotiator rejected benchmark iron ore prices negotiated last week between Rio Tinto and steel mills in Japan and South Korea. The Age

Councils eye court action over losses
A litigation group has confirmed it is funding legal action that could see every Australian council caught up in the Lehman Brothers saga, including 10 from WA, pursue claims worth $625 million against the failed investment bank. The West

Chinalco baulks on Rio funding
The future of Rio Tinto's Yarwun alumina refinery in Queensland is in doubt after Chinese resource giant Chinalco refused to confirm its funding for the project's much-needed expansion until the Foreign Investment Review Board decides on its $US19.5 billion ($24.7 billion) alliance. The Australian

Regulator to crack down on auditors
The corporate regulator has put companies and their auditors on notice that financial statements and balance sheets will be subjected to unprecedented levels of scrutiny in the lead-up to the annual reporting season. The Fin Review

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: James Packer has led the celebrations for the opening of his latest business enterprise, a $3 billion casino in Macau.

Page 4: The state government has padded the budget surplus with $65 million from a city parking levy without mentioning that, by law, the cash must be spent on promoting free public transport in the central business district.

Page 6: World motoring giant General Motors has become the biggest victim of the global recession, filing for bankruptcy protection yesterday and throwing itself into the hands of the Obama administration to salvage the company and its hundreds of thousands of employees.

Australia's recession is breaking along two lines - between the business have-nots and the consumer haves.

Page 7: Police are investigating whether a blaze that destroyed an $11 million recycling plant at Canning Vale yesterday was deliberately lit.

St Georges Terrace would be narrowed from six to four lanes and the speed limit reduced to 40kmh with wider footpaths and new street furniture under $9 million improvements to be considered by Perth city council tonight.

Page 10: ACTU president Sharan Burrow is set to deliver a strident call to bury the "rampant free market" with tighter regulations and a more interventionist government, as the union movement pushes for a second wave of industrial reform.

Page 12: A litigation group has confirmed it is funding legal action that could see every Australian council caught up in the Lehman Brothers saga, including 10 from WA, pursue claims worth $625 million against the failed investment bank.

Page 13: Perth apartments remain the nation's most expensive despite another fall in the value of units and homes across the city, new figures reveal.

Page 17: Multi-million-dollar vineyards are flooding the market at cut prices in the South West as the wine industry battles a grape glut, falling exports and end of economic good times.

Business: Merrill Lynch, one of the most famous names in banking, has denied allegations it engaged in a major case of insider trading.

Woodside Petroleum has come up with a field development plan for the big Wheatstone gasfield while its owner Chevron Corp urges the federal government to renew the field's controversial retention leases.

Branded grocery product manufacturers are fighting back against the growth of private labels, with independent supermarket owner Metcash reporting a surge in discounting and other promotional activity as producers seek to claw back sales.

Company employees will get the chance to be the eyes and ears for the nation's corporate watchdog with the launch of a specialist insolvency portal that tells staff how to assess their employer's financial health.

Companies behind Australia's projected $200 billion investment boom in liquefied natural gas export projects are refusing to concede the need to adjust their aggressive development timetables in response to the financial crisis and the LNG supply glut.

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The corporate regulator has put companies and their auditors on notice that financial statements and balance sheets will be subjected to unprecedented levels of scrutiny in the lead-up to the annual reporting season.

The much-anticipated chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by General Motors, the industrial icon founded 101 years ago, marks another low point for American capitalism, but is far from the end of the line for the Detroit car maker.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has claimed vindication for the government's aggressive measures to support household consumption following rises in new home sales and retail spending, but big falls in profits and inventories add to concerns that business activity is crumbling.

Page 3: The federal government is rushing through big reforms to bankruptcy laws to meet an expected surge in personal insolvencies caused by a worsening economy.

Qantas Airways hopes to boost membership of its frequent flyer scheme to seven million within the next 12 months as it seeks to entice hundreds of thousands of new users through more partnerships with restaurants and big retailers such as Woolworths.

Page 5: Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is facing sharp divisions over emissions trading within his own party as well as with the Nationals, which further undermine government efforts to win support for legislation establishing the carbon reduction scheme.

Company chairmen, directors and business groups oppose any further regulation of executive pay, citing the effectiveness of the shareholder vote on pay packages, which was opposed by business when introduced four years ago.

Page 16: Metcash has earmarked $1 billion for acquisitions locally or overseas to expand its grocery, liquor and cash and carry operations, which are expected to deliver as much as 10 per cent profit growth this year.

Woolworths is relying on increased sales to cover the cost of a new loyalty program that will enable customers to earn Qantas frequent flyer points on their shopping.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Union boss Sharan Burrow has urged Kevin Rudd to intervene in Labor's contentious award modernisation process after Julia Gillard took action the ACTU president warned risked turning restaurant and cafe workers into "second-class citizens".

Hindu extremists burned effigies of Kevin Rudd and shouted angry slogans outside the Australian High Commission in New Delhi yesterday as fury over a series of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne reached dangerous new heights.

World financial markets are backing the Rudd government's claim Australia will have the softest recession of the industrial economies and will be the first to bounce back.

The axe fell last night on US car giant General Motors, the parent company of Holden, as the company formally entered the largest industrial bankruptcy proceedings in US history.

Page 2: Health authorities could soon face up to three different stages of pandemic alert across the country, after the diagnosis of almost 100 new swine flu cases in Victoria yesterday pushed the national tally past 400.

Premier Colin Barnett has slammed Western Australia's "slack" system of government entitlements, after his predecessor's chief of staff received a $170,000 taxpayer-funded payout just before she was parachuted into a safe Labor seat at the last election.

Page 3: Australia's food makers have been put on notice to tighten controls over their products' fat, sugar and salt content or Canberra will do it for them.

Low-cost carrier AirAsiaX yesterday sent international airfares tumbling to late-1970s' levels with a two-week sale offering Perth-London return fares starting at $700.

Page 4: Climate Change Minister Penny Wong met Labor backbenchers yesterday in a bid to head off concerns that have forced the Rudd government to delay legislation setting up its proposed 20 per cent renewable energy target.

Electrical goods retailer Kevin Hines never thought he'd see the day pensioners would put pressure on his supply of plasma televisions.

Page 5: The government appears to have weathered Malcolm Turnbull's sustained attack on debt and deficit levels in its 2009-10 budget, with Labor maintaining a comfortable lead over the coalition in the latest Newspoll.

Nationals whip Paul Neville has called upon his coalition colleagues to hold the line against the government's alcopops tax and back a politically risky, uniform tax for beer, wine and spirits.

Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan have all but conceded Australia will be officially declared recession-bound by the national accounts tomorrow.

Page 6: The federal-state compromise on water trading has had immediate effect, as farmers in Victoria are already negotiating with the commonwealth to sell more than 80 billion litres of water.

Business: The future of Rio Tinto's Yarwun alumina refinery in Queensland is in doubt after Chinese resource giant Chinalco refused to confirm its funding for the project's much-needed expansion until the Foreign Investment Review Board decides on its $US19.5 billion ($24.7 billion) alliance.

Manufacturers worldwide preparing for an economic rebound are rebuilding inventories of everything from benzene to plywood, sparking a record-breaking commodities rally that has lit a fire under the Australian dollar.

General Motors filed for bankruptcy yesterday, marking the humbling of an American icon that once dominated the global car industry and setting up a high-stakes gamble for US taxpayers. The question now facing 56,000 car workers, 3600 GM dealers and the Obama administration: will it work?

The Australian dollar surged above US80c in local trade yesterday for the first time in eight months, as share and commodity prices strengthened amid a brighter economic outlook.

Paperlinx has warned that its 2009 underlying earnings will be cut by up to 35 per cent after it finally concluded the $700 million sale of its Australian Paper unit to Japan's Nippon Paper Group.

In the most extensive and expensive attempt yet to shift Australian wine's image from cheap and cheerful plonk to high-end lesser-known brands, industry body Wine Australia yesterday began wooing the wine writers it believes will be most influential in years to come.

China's economic recovery is likely to remain slow for months after manufacturing stayed flat in May on top of a disappointing previous result.

Metcash, the grocery wholesaler behind the IGA chain of independently owned supermarkets, has defied the economic and consumer downturn to report a surge of almost 14 per cent in annual profit.

The money being ploughed into agribusiness tax schemes is expected to be just a third of the amount spent last year, as the two major recent collapses in the sector wreak havoc on investor nerves.

Chrysler could exit bankruptcy reorganisation this morning, after barely a month in Chapter 11 protection.

The world is still in recession, businesses are folding and workers are losing their jobs, but this could turn out to be a fruitful time for investment bankers.

Shares rallied 2 per cent yesterday as more signs of recovery emerged in China, keeping the Australian dollar above US80c.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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