03/06/2009 - 06:48

Today's Business Headlines

03/06/2009 - 06:48

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Firepower investors launch $5m legal bid; Chevron demands right to develop giant WA gasfield; Woodside chief calls on LNG players to co-operate in west; RBA upbeat on housing recovery; Big miners' value goes down the shaft

Today's Business Headlines

Firepower investors launch $5m legal bid
Former WA police minister Gordon Hill has become the first target of investors trying to recover their money from the wreckage of failed technology company Firepower after he was hot with a $5 million lawsuit yesterday. The West

Chevron demands right to develop giant WA gasfield
Chevron expects to kick off a $US500 million ($616 million) engineering and design study for the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project within months in a clear signal to the federal government that the contentious retention leases over its huge gasfield off northern WA should be renewed. The West

Woodside chief calls on LNG players to co-operate in west
Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte has urged rival liquefied natural gas companies to share production sites along the northwest coast, suggesting that without greater cooperation between projects governments could intervene to accelerate developments. The Australian

RBA upbeat on housing recovery
The Reserve Bank of Australia is confident low interest rates and federal government stimulus measures are supporting the economy as a surge in new home approvals fuels expectations of recovery in building activity. The Fin Review

Big miners' value goes down the shaft
The world's top 40 miners' market capitalisation dropped a staggering 62 per cent last year, as their earnings also took a beating on weakened demand and falling commodity prices. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Former WA police minister Gordon Hill has become the first target of investors trying to recover their money from the wreckage of failed technology company Firepower after he was hot with a $5 million lawsuit yesterday.

Page 3: The WA Police Union hopes to resolve its pay dispute with the state government as early as today.

Page 4: Australia may avoid joining the rest of the developed world in recession after figures showed the economy was in better shape than the government and Reserve Bank expected.

Holden chief executive Mark Reuss and Industry Minister Kim Carr said the carmaker was safe from the bankruptcy proceedings that had enmeshed its US parent company General Motors, despite the local arm failing to make a profit since 2004.

Page 11: Cash-strapped and jobless renters are reportedly abandoning leases without warning as new figures reveal Perth tenants have faced recent price rises of up to 20 per cent.

Page 12: The ACTU has warned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd it wants major reforms to protect workers from unscrupulous employers and has demanded a second-term wave of industrial relations reforms.

Business: Chevron expects to kick off a $US500 million ($616 million) engineering and design study for the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project within months in a clear signal to the federal government that the contentious retention leases over its huge gasfield off northern WA should be renewed.

Chevron has begun marketing gas from the massive Gorgon project to the WA domestic market.

Veteran mining company director John O'Reilly is facing insider trading charges linked to last year's takeover of Indophil Resources by Swiss mining giant Xstrata.

A split has emerged between China's steel industry and its representative association, with the country's big steel mills unhappy about the group's refusal to accept the iron ore price cut negotiated between Rio Tinto and other Asian customers.

China's Sinosteel Midwest Corp has threatened to shelve plans for a major new iron ore mine in the Mid West if it is blocked from mining a key high-grade deposit.

Austal shares sank more than 5 per cent yesterday as the boat-builder moved to reassure investors over a $26 million exposure to ferry charter operator Hawaii Superferry, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy at the weekend.

At least two major financial planning networks are "reviewing" their support for ITC's manage investment schemes amid concerns about the financial health of its parent, Elders.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Australia's largest institutional investors have accused resources companies of issuing different, more alarmist, warnings about the impact of emissions trading to politicians and the public from disclosures they are making to shareholders.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is confident low interest rates and federal government stimulus measures are supporting the economy as a surge in new home approvals fuels expectations of recovery in building activity.

The Australian sharemarket is testing the 4,000 mark again as optimism about the global economy yesterday helped push shares to an almost seven-month high.

Page 3: The Federal Treasury has admitted participation in employee share schemes will be reduced if controversial tax changes announced in the budget are implemented.

Page 5: Carmaker Holden insists the bankruptcy of its American parent company, General Motors, will have no impact on its operations in Australia despite concerns over its access to capital.

Page 7: The union movement has vowed to ignore the Rudd government's stance of ruling out further changes to workplace laws and will confront deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard today over special laws to police the construction industry.

Page 9: The Rudd government is still negotiating with the coal industry as it introduces the controversial legislation to set up the carbon pollution reduction scheme into parliament.

Page 13: Businesses on existing variable loans are enjoying some of the lowest rates in 30 years, but those that seek refinancing or new loans often get a shock.

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Anna Bligh has wagered her political capital by dumping Queensland's long-cherished 8.35c-a-litre petrol subsidy and embarking on a raft of asset sales in a bid to reduce debt and maintain essential services.

Australia has defied the collapse in world trade, achieving a growth in exports that may allow the economy to stave off recession.

Unions will today confront Julia Gillard at the ACTU national congress, demanding the Rudd government immediately abolish the building industry watchdog, and condemning Labor for treating building workers differently from the rest of the workforce.

Page 2: A $15 million Howard government project to enable Aboriginal people on Cape York to build their own homes has been stalled for more than two years because the Queensland government is insisting that trees in the vast unpopulated region cannot be cleared.

Page 3: Overseas air safety investigators are expected to look at problems that sent a Qantas A330 on a wild ride over Western Australia last year as they attempt to solve the mystery behind this week's Air France crash.

He may be a self-proclaimed "normal person", but Telstra's newly crowned boss, David Thodey, has discovered that resistance is futile when it comes to some of the perks of executive life.

Kevin Rudd wrote an essay for the world's top foreign policy publication Foreign Affairs, but it was rejected by the magazine's editorial board.

Page 4: A promise to protect rail, port and plantation jobs for two years after the Queensland government's fire sale of public assets yesterday failed to placate unions, which threatened to derail the privatisation plan.

Page 5: Wayne Swan is facing another business backlash, particularly from resources and infrastructure companies, over a surprise $675 million budget tax hit on overseas workers.

The best bet is still that today's national accounts will produce recession headlines by recording a second consecutive quarter of economic contraction.

GM Holden came out punching yesterday with a pledge that it was viable in the long term, that no jobs would be lost and that it would soon turn a profit despite its US parent entering bankruptcy.

Page 8: Kevin Rudd has attempted to lift political pressure on Malcolm Turnbull by fast-tracking laws on carbon emissions trading and health insurance, pushing them to the Senate on a timetable that could see them become triggers for an early election.

Kevin Rudd has signalled a subtle shift in his political rhetoric, accusing Malcolm Turnbull of adopting a series of fear campaigns to conceal his lack of policy alternatives.

Kevin Rudd faces a fresh showdown with left-wing unions after flatly rejecting a move by Tasmanian union official Kevin Harkins to seek Labor Party pre-selection for a Senate seat.

Business: The Reserve Bank could order deeper cuts to official interest rates to force recalcitrant retail banks to lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, in a bid to protect Australia's economy from the dim global outlook.

US President Barack Obama has predicted that General Motors will emerge from Chapter 11 "a stronger and more competitive" company within months.

The widely predicted consolidation phase in global and Australian stockbroking began in earnest yesterday with Morgan Stanley's acquisition of Citi's retail advisory business.

The world's top 40 miners' market capitalisation dropped a staggering 62 per cent last year, as their earnings also took a beating on weakened demand and falling commodity prices.

Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte has urged rival liquefied natural gas companies to share production sites along the northwest coast, suggesting that without greater cooperation between projects governments could intervene to accelerate developments.

China has flagged a new structure for iron ore contract prices as it continues to resist falling in with the growing number of Asian steel mills signing contracts at levels above spot prices.

Royal Dutch Shell's plans for a multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas venture in central Queensland are likely to be revealed within days, with the state government poised to fast-track the development.

The $1.3 billion class action headed by Sydney investor Jim Byrnes against BrisConnections and Macquarie Capital Advisors has been thrown out of court after defects were revealed in the case.

Less than two months after DirecTV chief Chase Carey downplayed reports he may return to News Corporation, it has now emerged that talks to lure him back have resumed.

Australia's biggest general insurer, Insurance Australia Group, expects to pay between $25 million and $35 million to customers hit by storms in southeast Queensland and northern NSW.

 

 

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