Today's Business Headlines

09/06/2009 - 06:49

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Share crash forces super reform; Fortescue crunches costs; Barnett issues royalties warning; OZ Minerals tussle hots up; Rocky road ahead for Rio-BHP venture

Share crash forces super reform
Up to 90 per cent of recent retirees are unlikely ever to meet their expected investment returns after the market crash of the past year, with many likely to run out of savings and wind up dependent on the age pension. The Australian

Fortescue crunches costs
Fortescue Metals Group is trying to force contractors to drop their prices by 20 per cent, in the most aggressive attempt yet by Andrew Forrest's fledgling Pilbara iron ore miner to cut external costs by $400 million a year. The West

Barnett issues royalties warning
The Barnett government has warned Kevin Rudd and his Treasury head Ken Henry to keep their hands off Western Australia's multi-billion-dollar mining royalties, claiming the federal government cannot be trusted with new revenue powers. The Australian

OZ Minerals tussle hots up
Beleaguered miner OZ Minerals faces a potential backlash from shareholders at its annual meeting in Melbourne on Thursday after the board rejected fresh offers from an international consortium to recapitalise the business. Herald Sun

Rocky road ahead for Rio-BHP venture
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are preparing to front competition regulators over their planned $US115 billion ($145 billion) iron ore joint venture, amid growing opposition from Chinese, Japanese and European steel mills to the historic alliance. The Fin Review

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: Industrial staff at the state's biggest union were forced to make fortnightly donations into a campaign fund for its secretary Dave Kelly and two other manager in case the elected officials were challenged, a court was told yesterday.

Page 4: Australian taxpayers face the stiffest penalties in the world if they fail to pay the taxman on time and there are signs the globe's tax officials are going to chase even more cash.

The state government wants tax relief for remote workers to be increased dramatically after producing figures showing some would get a rebate of more than $5,000 rather than the $338 they now get if the zone allowance had held its value since it was introduced.

Page 10: Extended trading hours on weeknights is important if Perth's central business district is going to shake its reputation for being dull after dusk.

Page 12: Country towns across WA will be awash with new pools, caravan parks and recreation facilities as 110 councils go on a $97 million spending spree with their royalties for regions cash.

Page 17: Airlines are facing the most difficult time in their history - far worse than the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks - with the industry's leading body forecasting a loss of $US9 billion ($11.48 billion) this year.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group is trying to force contractors to drop their prices by 20 per cent, in the most aggressive attempt yet by Andrew Forrest's fledgling Pilbara iron ore miner to cut external costs by $400 million a year.

Croesus Mining is heading for its second facelift in 12 months via a deal with millionaire prospector Mark Creasy and Mark Ashley's Apex Minerals that will see it reinvented as a nickel explorer.

Capital raised in Australia's biotechnology and life-sciences sector since the start of April shows the same pick-up in sentiment as in the broader market.

Australia's wealthiest individuals have been scared off the financial products that provided good returns during the boom times but that lost significant value once the sharemarket started falling, a survey shows.

Michael Kiernan is poised to remerge with control of Kalgoorlie gold play Monarch Gold Mining, almost a year since it collapsed after the dealmaker's fallout with major creditor Territory Resources.

The Port Hedland Port Authority has signalled that the Pilbara's junior miners will likely have to fund their share of a new three-berth development as it warned miners risked losing out on space at the inner harbour if projects were not developed "in a timely manner".

Analysts are turning their attention to the potential for Rio Tinto and Chinalco to mend fences by proceeding with a deal on Rio's Queensland aluminium operations.

Archer Capital has been revealed as one of the private equity funds behind and "unsolicited, highly conditional and incomplete" takeover proposal for Energy Developments.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are preparing to front competition regulators over their planned $US115 billion ($145 billion) iron ore joint venture, amid growing opposition from Chinese, Japanese and European steel mills to the historic alliance.

Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard is considering striking special deals for more industries that face costs from the government's overhaul of awards, to offset concerns that Labor's workplace relations reforms will drive more people into unemployment.

The Treasury portfolio has gained unprecedented power and representation in Kevin Rudd's ministerial reshuffle, with superannuation and corporate law receiving cabinet status and a third minister given responsibility for implementing reforms flowing from the Henry tax review.

Page 3: The small business lobby faces disappointment over its call on the federal government for greater assistance in obtaining finance, with Small Business Minister Craig Emerson saying yesterday the government has already done what it can.

Page 4: Labour market data to be released this week is expected to show the economy shed 20,000 jobs in May, as the jobless rate creeps upward and the number of jobs advertised continues to decline.

Page 5: The West Australian government has called for an overhaul of the GST system, which could include lifting the rate of tax applied to goods and services, as part of its submission to the Commonwealth's Henry tax review.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Up to 90 per cent of recent retirees are unlikely ever to meet their expected investment returns after the market crash of the past year, with many likely to run out of savings and wind up dependent on the age pension.

A leading unionist has accused the Rudd government of "sending in the stormtroopers" to quash "perfectly reasonable debate" between Labor's political and industrial wings, which he says could empower militant minorities in the union movement and harm the ALP's relationship with its union base.

The Rudd government has moved a step closer to securing a national industrial relations system, with South Australia agreeing to hand over its legislative powers on industrial relations to the Commonwealth.

Page 2: Barley a year ago dairy prices were so high, milk was being likened to white gold. But the market has since turned sour, with the global financial crisis slashing international dairy prices, and Australian farms are suffering.

The Barnett government has warned Kevin Rudd and his Treasury head Ken Henry to keep their hands off Western Australia's multi-billion-dollar mining royalties, claiming the federal government cannot be trusted with new revenue powers.

Two leading members of the international economic family yesterday made tentative calls of a world turning from recession to recovery.

Business: OZ Minerals has rejected a second attempt to derail its $US1.2 billion ($1.5bn) deal with China Minmetals, leaving it to shareholders to decide whether a second major Chinese investment in the Australian mining sector fails in less than a week.

A private-equity consortium headed by Sydney firm Archer Capital has launched a takeover bid for clean energy company Energy Developments.

Chinese steelmakers have toughened their opposition to the $US116 billion ($145bn) iron ore joint venture between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, joining other nations in denouncing the plans as monopolistic.

Bosses and ministers, quite understandably, wish to provide reassurance when disquieting events occur. But they shouldn't convey a false sense of security.

As China's strategic planners digest the failure of Chinalco's bid to create a great global mining house, one of the alternatives coming to the fore is to encourage Chinese steel mills to develop joint ventures with Australian companies.

OZ Minerals rejected the 11th hour attempt by Royal Bank of Canada and RFC group to supplant the proposed China Minmetals transaction with its own recapitalisation proposal because it considered that it offered neither greater value nor certainty.

The tight conditions in global credit markets are holding back the potential expansion of Australian businesses, which have been forced to increase their reliance on more costly bank funding.

The global airline industry is forecast to lose $US9 billion ($11.3bn) this year, taking industry losses to almost $US50bn since the September 11 terror attacks, with no end to the economic gloom in sight.

There was no chance of resurrecting the failed merger between Qantas and British Airways, the chief executives of both airlines said yesterday.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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