11/06/2009 - 06:50

Today's Business Headlines

11/06/2009 - 06:50

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Tax reprieve for small business; Chinese see off rivals for OZ; Triad opposes Rio-BHP venture; CBA eyes rate rise; Shemesian sells Cape Lambert stake for $17m

Today's Business Headlines

Tax reprieve for small business
The Australian Taxation Office has offered 2.5 million small businesses a series of tax breaks to help them ride out the economic downturn, including a 12-month interest holiday on $6.5 billion in tax debts and the deferral of tax payments. The Fin Review

Chinese see off rivals for OZ
China Minmetals last night delivered a knockout blow to rivals seeking to gatecrash its bid for OZ Minerals assets, boosting its offer by 15 per cent to $US1.39 billion ($1.7bn) ahead of today's shareholder vote on its proposal. The Australian

Triad opposes Rio-BHP venture
European steel makers have called on European Union regulators, which stymied BHP Billiton's hostile bid last year for Rio Tinto, to investigate plans by the resources groups to set up an iron ore joint venture in Western Australia. Canberra Times

CBA eyes rate rise
Commonwealth Bank last night refused to rule out the prospect of a mortgage rate rise ahead of next month's Reserve Bank board meeting. Herald Sun

Shemesian sells Cape Lambert stake for $17m
Colourful businessman Mick Shemesian has sold his 9.5 per cent stake in Cape Lambert Iron Ore for $17.5 million, ending a controversial nine-month stint as one of the biggest investors in the Tony Sage-chaired company. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Premier Colin Barnett's hand-picked Kimberley environmental adviser is the associate director of a lobbyist organisation with mining and exploration clients in the region.

Page 3: One in eight workers is planning to delay retirement and a similar number of retirees expect they might have to go back to work because their superannuation savings have been whittled away by the global financial crisis, according to new research.

A miner was trapped 1,000 metres underground last night after an earthquake caused a rockfall in a BHP Billiton nickel mine.

Page 4: Australians are spending a record amount of money building new homes, hoping the country will defy recession as consumer confidence records its biggest one-month increase in 22 years.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told unions that special powers policing the building industry will stay, no mater what next month's ALP conference decides.

Page 11: The Esperance Port Authority has admitted responsibility for a series of pollution incidents, the most serious of which showered the town in toxic lead carbonate dust in December 2006.

Page 14: Colin Barnett has turned up the heat on BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto over a proposed merger of their Pilbara iron ore operations, warning that any attempts to avoid stamp duty could end up being challenged in court.

Business: Colourful businessman Mick Shemesian has sold his 9.5 per cent stake in Cape Lambert Iron Ore for $17.5 million, ending a controversial nine-month stint as one of the biggest investors in the Tony Sage-chaired company.

James Packer's $US250 million ($308 million) investment in a US casino development company has evaporated after three of its subsidiaries, including its Las Vegas arm, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The world's proved oil reserves fell last year for the first time in a decade, even as consumption in advanced economies slowed.

Forestry giant Gunns has held meetings this week over a possible takeover of timber projects run by collapsed rival Timbercorp, amid warnings from Timbercorp's administrator that it may move to wind up more of the company's managed investment schemes.

The most serious insider trading charges being made against Merrill Lynch by David Waterhouse will be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court when the merchant bank's former client gives evidence.

The global economic downturn still has "a long way to go" but governments should avoid short-term protectionist measures to prop up their economies, the chief executive of debt and credit ratings provider Dun & Bradstreet has warned.

Kagara expects to start the search for a partner for its Admiral Bay zinc-lead project near Broome within months after confirming the terms of a recapitalisation that could see it raise as much as $262 million.

Premier Colin Barnett has ruled out funding a new deepwater port at Point Torment near Derby to service the Browse Basin offshore oil and gas industry, confirming any development there would be privately owned.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Australian Taxation Office has offered 2.5 million small businesses a series of tax breaks to help them ride out the economic downturn, including a 12-month interest holiday on $6.5 billion in tax debts and the deferral of tax payments.

Consumers are shaking off their gloom, with the biggest rise in confidence in 22 years after national accounts last week showed Australia has so far avoided a technical recession.

Rio Tinto attempted to cut Chinalco into its $US115 billion ($145 billion) iron ore alliance with BHP Billiton at the eleventh hour, amid fears of a Chinese backlash against the historic joint venture.

Page 3: Most major listed companies have not reactivated their employee share schemes despite government efforts to undo the impasse caused by its bungled budget announcement.

Page 4: An alarming slump in minerals exploration spending across Australia has been seized upon by the mining industry as proof the government needs to hasten the introduction of tax incentives for the sector.

Page 5: The Rudd government is trying to win Senate support for its controversial emissions trading scheme by linking it to legislation to increase renewable energy use.

Page 7: The administrators if failed forestry and horticulture group Timbercorp have made a desperate plea to 700 landowners for a 90-day moratorium on rent payments on forestry projects because of the group's dire financialsituation.

Page 11: Australian consulting firms risk losing lucrative overseas contracts to international competitors because of heftier taxes imposed by the federal government on expatriate workers, a Senate hearing was told yesterday.

Page 16: Those OZ Minerals shareholders who gather in Melbourne to vote on the proposed $US1.2 billion asset sale to China's Minmetals will, perhaps for the first time in the company's troubled history, be glad their board has exercised restraint in the face of great temptation.

A Chinese provincial government body, the Guangdong Foreign Trade Group, has been revealed as the cornerstone investor in copper and zinc miner Kagara after the Perth-based company confirmed it is seeking to raise as much as $262 million through a share sale.

Page 18: Australia's $4 billion newspaper industry plans to award a multi-million-dollar contract for a new readership measurement system following long-running complaints from some media companies about the existing system.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: One of Kevin Rudd's handpicked Infrastructure Australia board members has slammed the federal government's $14.7 billion education revolution program, claiming it has missed a generational opportunity to build environmentally sustainable schools across the nation.

One Rudd has pointedly rebuked union leaders by vowing that if they seek to change Labor policy to protect thuggery on building sites he will defy the party platform.

The schools stimulus was billed as a jobs creator for local communities. But despite winning contracts to carry out millions of dollars worth of school renovations, some local builders are being forced to lay off workers.

Australians are increasingly convinced the economy is out of danger, with consumer confidence staging its biggest jump in more than two decades.

The Rudd government has lodged a "poison pill" in its renewable energy target legislation, in a political ploy to force the coalition to pass the emissions trading scheme, or risk causing damage to crucial industries.

Page 3: Australia is delivering record numbers of babies, despite losing a sixth of its public hospital maternity wards over the past decade.

The ABC has demoted its head of TV comedy, Amanda Duthie, over last week's controversial Chaser skit about sick children, saying her failure to stop the segment going to air was an error of judgment.

Page 4: The tax office will give small businesses with tax debts a 12-month holiday on interest payments to help them survive the global recession.

A record number of mortgages were taken out in April, with Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing the uptake of new owner-occupier home loans has risen for the seventh consecutive month.

Page 5: The Rudd government has lodged a "poison pill" in its renewable energy target legislation, in a political ploy to force the coalition to pass the emissions trading scheme or risk damaging crucial industries.

Page 7: Timber giant Gunns is on the verge of signing a joint venture deal with Swedish firm Sodra to build its $2 billion Tasmanian pulp mill.

The Esperance Port Authority faces a $1 million-plus fine after admitting it was responsible for lead pollution that led to children being poisoned and the deaths of thousands of birds.

A senior Merck & Co research scientist and star witness for the pharmaceutical giant believed the anti-arthritis drug Vioxx should not have been taken off the market because many patients would benefit from the drug.

Business: China Minmetals last night delivered a knockout blow to rivals seeking to gatecrash its bid for OZ Minerals assets, boosting its offer by 15 per cent to $US1.39 billion ($1.7bn) ahead of today's shareholder vote on its proposal.

China's consumer prices fell for the fourth month in a row in May as the economy continued to be hit by the global slump despite a massive stimulus plan aimed at boosting spending.

China has turned its guns on Australia's political class, claiming "prejudice" against Chinese companies and raising the possibility of stalled investment between the two countries as the anger over Rio Tinto's rejection of Chinalco continues to build.

Australian shares yesterday soared to their highest level this year as figures revealed consumers are regaining confidence in the stockmarket as a place to park their cash.

The contrasting treatment of shareholders of Transpacific Industries and Asciano as the companies seek solutions to reduce their heavy debt load demonstrates once again that the ASX has no coherent policy in relation to the suspension of trading in a company's securities.

Cash-strapped copper and zinc miner Kagara has announced a capital raising of up to $262 million, while a Chinese firm is set to take a 19.9 per cent stake in the miner.

Allegations by Sydney investor David Waterhouse that broking giant Merrill Lynch had engaged in illegal insider trading were irrelevant and would not be examined in court, a Melbourne court heard yesterday.

Australia's newspaper industry could soon have competing readership research after the sector's peak group yesterday began the search for figures it will officially endorse.

Investors in defunct rural group Timbercorp's 30-odd olive and almond schemes will find out next week whether administrator KordaMentha will get court backing for a plan to make an application to wind them up, although judge Ross Robson of the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday granted them the right to have a "contradictor" put their case.

Blood plasma group CSL's decision to abort its $US3.1 billion ($3.9bn) takeover of Talecris Biotherapeutics because of US regulatory concerns has been applauded by the market.

Japanese credit conditions are easier than at any time since September, key credit markets are repairing themselves and the corporate bankruptcy rate is slowing -- that's the silver lining.

Russia may switch some of its reserves from US Treasuries to International Monetary Fund bonds, the central bank said yesterday.

The Obama administration is dropping its plan to cap salaries at firms receiving government bailout money, leaving them subject to congressionally imposed limits on bonuses.

The US Justice Department has sent formal demands to publishers for information on a deal Google struck with them last year to allow the search engine to make millions of books available online.

Stainless steel makers, facing high operating costs, are increasing prices despite weak demand.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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