Today's Business Headlines

10/07/2009 - 06:39

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China claims proof on Rio 'spy'; ANZ roasted on almonds; Firepower boss faces criminal charges; Stokes No 2 after fresh Packer raid; Thiess wins second big Gorgon deal

China claims proof on Rio 'spy'
Tension between Canberra and Beijing over the arrest of an Australian mining executive on spy charges has deepened, with Chinese authorities warning they have evidence that the Rio Tinto worker stole state secrets that could hurt China's economic security. The West

ANZ roasted on almonds
Timbercorp investors have criticised ANZ for holding out on a proposed rescue plan for the failed group's almond projects, urging it to salvage some of the damage done to its reputation by the Opes Prime collapse and come to the party on the deal. The West

Firepower boss faces criminal charges
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is believed to be close to bringing a criminal action against the main instigator of the fraudulent fuel additive company Firepower, the fugitive Tim Johnston. Sydney Morning Herald

Stokes No 2 after fresh Packer raid
Kerry Stokes's Seven Network is today set to formally declare itself the second-largest shareholder of the James Packer-backed Consolidated Media Holdings with about 18 per cent of the group after launching a fresh $51 million raid yesterday. The Australian

Thiess wins second big Gorgon deal
Leighton subsidiary Thiess has been awarded the second major contract in less than a month for the huge Gorgon gas project on Barrow Island in Western Australia. The Australian

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Tension between Canberra and Beijing over the arrest of an Australian mining executive on spy charges has deepened, with Chinese authorities warning they have evidence that the Rio Tinto worker stole state secrets that could hurt China's economic security.

Page 4: Australian men are bearing the brunt of the recession with unemployment hitting a six-year high, but it seems the jobless rate will be much lower than the federal government had expected.

More than 60 ANZ Bank workers in WA will lose their job as it outsources some mortgage services to India and the US.

Page 5: Union heavyweight Joe McDonald was unrepentant last night after being fined $10,000 for trespassing on three construction sites in 2007.

Page 6: Premier Colin Barnett said a spy claim against an Australian mining executive from Rio Tinto has the potential to damage business relations with China and undermine long-term investment.

A year ago, Stern Hu had survived 20-odd rounds of negotiations and won Rio Tinto an extraordinary 87 per cent price rise for its iron ore contracts.

Page 11: The state government has buckled to pressure and appointed a new person to review the St John Ambulance service after questions were raised about the independence of the senior bureaucrat given the task.

Page 17: The Water Corporation is putting the finishing touches to a facility that is set to change the way Perth gets its water - through recycled sewage.

Business: Timbercorp investors have criticised ANZ for holding out on a proposed rescue plan for the failed group's almond projects, urging it to salvage some of the damage done to its reputation by the Opes Prime collapse and come to the party on the deal.

China's detention of an Australian mining executive on spying allegations rattled currency markets yesterday amid fears that the affair could damage ties between Australia and its biggest trading partner.

St Barbara will suspend open pit mining at its Southern Cross operations and cut staff as part of a strategic review designed to turn around its ageing operations and address its ailing share price.

The federal government has approved the final tranche of Kagara's $226 million capital raising, yesterday signing off on Chinese group Guangdong Foreign Trade Group taking a 15 per cent stake in the Perth base metals miner.

ANZ has set its sights on a more ambitious sweep of acquisitions in Asia than Royal Bank of Scotland's assets, for which it is now bidding, after being presented with a $2.2 billion cash bonanza by "mum and dad" investors.

Leighton Holdings subsidiary Thiess has promised to use local suppliers after picking up a second $500 million contract for Chevron Corp's $50 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project in WA's North West.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Kerry Stokes has escalated his assault on James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings, launching the second market raid in as many days to lift Seven Network's shareholding in the part-owner of Foxtel to 18 per cent.

The financial planning industry stands to lose millions of dollars in fees after the federal government agreed yesterday that superannuation funds could provide personal advice to their members for the first time.

China has declared a Rio Tinto executive detained for stealing state secrets guilty as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday said the government would adopt a measured approach in dealing with the Chinese government over the issue.

Page 3: Executives will not be able to bargain their way out of criminal prosecution and jail for serious breaches of cartel laws, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission head Graeme Samuel has warned.

Page 4: If Australia is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the nation must be prepared to dedicate up to 3 per cent of gross domestic product each year to the task, an economic analyst for local government says.

Page 9: While the overall job market shrinks, there are areas where skill shortage remain acute, particularly in regional and remote areas.

Page 10: Full-time jobs are disappearing at an accelerating rate but the overall labour market is proving to be unexpectedly resilient in the face of the economic slowdown, underpinning hopes that the recession may not be as severe as initially feared.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Australia has strengthened its claim to be the strongest advanced economy, with the jobs market holding up much better in the face of the global downturn than either the government or private sector economists were expecting.

Beijing last night claimed that detained Australian mining executive Stern Hu had caused "huge loss" to China's economic interests by stealing state secrets.

Page 2: The arrest and detention in Shanghai of senior Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu represents a grave crisis in Australia's relationship with China.

The federal opposition yesterday slammed as "spin" Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek's argument that a state/federal deal to finalise plans by March 31 this year to tackle homelessness only required the states to submit drafts for negotiation.

Page 4: Former federal Liberal leader Brendan Nelson has attacked opponents of league tables such as his NSW party colleague, opposition leader Barry O'Farrell, for condemning children from poorer backgrounds to '' a life of mediocrity'' in the belief they are unable to excel at school.

Employers last night accused the Rudd government of making changes to the building industry code of practice that could result in a return to unproductive work practices.

Consumer advocate Choice will take on the might of the big two supermarkets in a grassroots campaign aimed at bringing down Australia's grocery prices, which are among the highest in the developed world.

The Indigenous Land Corporation is failing in its goal of helping indigenous people achieve economic independence, and has instead become a wealthy, secretive organisation that refuses to pass on land acquired on behalf of Aborigines.

Page 6: Government stimulus spending and interest rate cuts are providing most of the support for economic growth worldwide, with little evidence yet of recovery in private sector demand, the International Monetary Fund says.

When Wayne Revely started work as a skilled migrant in Australia's recruitment industry three years ago there was such high demand for foreign recruiters he was offered $5000 in rewards to attract other skilled migrants to his company.

Business: Kerry Stokes's Seven Network is today set to formally declare itself the second-largest shareholder of the James Packer-backed Consolidated Media Holdings with about 18 per cent of the group after launching a fresh $51 million raid yesterday.

ANZ has built up a $4.7 billion war chest to pursue domestic and offshore acquisitions after surprising the market yesterday with a record $2.2bn retail raising.

The CSR board has come under fire from shareholders over the mishandling of its long-overdue break-up and the value of major acquisitions.

Bemused shareholders of the gold miner Dioro Resources must be wondering what, if any, credence to place on the independent expert's report by KPMG in relation to the bid from Avoca Resources following the latest intervention by the corporate regulator, ASIC.

Xstrata's proposed £40 billion ($82.4bn) merger with Anglo American has effectively collapsed after Anglo's shareholders rejected the approach.

China's move on struggling Australian miner Kagara has been given the green light by the Foreign Investment Review Board, paving the way for a state-owned entity to become the junior's largest shareholder.

A plan hatched by Melbourne's wealthy Smorgon and Baillieu families to recapitalise one of Timbercorp's biggest assets into a $300 million entity listed on the ASX could be derailed by ANZ Bank.

The federal government's stimulus packages may have boosted consumer confidence but demand for executives is still falling.

Leighton subsidiary Thiess has been awarded the second major contract in less than a month for the huge Gorgon gas project on Barrow Island in Western Australia.

An unprecedented wave of investment is under way in Australia to develop new sources of water, including desalination and recycling plants, totalling an estimated $40 billion.

As the White House begins to ponder whether to reappoint or replace Ben Bernanke when his term expires in January, the Federal Reserve chairman's standing on Wall Street is on the rise while attacks on him from congress mount.

The European Union has fined energy giants EON of Germany and GDF Suez of France billion ($1.97bn) for agreeing not to compete on sales of natural gas in each other's home markets.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has cut its five-year forecast for oilfield spending by about a third, as the recession and increased energy efficiency lead to a steep reduction in projected demand.

New US claims for state unemployment benefits unexpectedly tumbled last week to their lowest level since the beginning of the year, as anticipated layoffs in the automobile industry failed to materialise as much as the government expected.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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