20/07/2009 - 06:46

Today's Business Headlines

20/07/2009 - 06:46

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Chinese step up pressure on Barnett over Oakajee; Rising ore prices buoy Rio; Rudd resists ACTU's Buy Australian push; Telstra hears demerger call; Capital floods in at record rate

Today's Business Headlines

Chinese step up pressure on Barnett over Oakajee
A major Chinese investor in WA's fledgling Mid West iron ore province has cranked up pressure on Colin Barnett, saying almost three years of delays in environmental approvals is costing it more than $4.5 million a month. The West

Rising ore prices buoy Rio
Iron ore prices have leapt to levels not seen since last year, cushioning Rio Tinto against any financial fallout from its raging diplomatic row with Beijing. The Australian

Rudd resists ACTU's Buy Australian push
The Rudd government plans a tender shake-up to help local companies compete for the estimated $26 billion it spends annually on goods and services, but has rejected a union push to give suppliers a 20 per cent price advantage over foreign bidders. The Fin Review

Telstra hears demerger call
Telstra has been forced to consider a demerger of its business after the Rudd government flagged a preference for shareholders to take a direct stake in the $47 billion national broadband network company. The Fin Review

Capital floods in at record rate
Capital markets in Australia raised a record $60 billion of new equity during the 2008-09 financial year, defying expectations of a funding squeeze, business advisory firm KPMG said. Daily Telegraph

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: Fisheries Minister Norman Moore faces pressure from Liberal backbenchers fielding complaints over plans to charge anyone who fishes from boat a fee of up to $180 a year.

Page 4: A major Chinese investor in WA's fledgling Mid West iron ore province has cranked up pressure on Colin Barnett, saying almost three years of delays in environmental approvals is costing it more than $4.5 million a month.

Rio Tinto executive Stern HU "may well be charged", Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says.

Page 9: The Australian Medical Association is supporting less sports sponsorship by alcohol companies as speculation mounts that the federal government is considering phasing out the long-established relationship.

Page 11: There were more than 80 reportable safety incidents at Jandakot Airport last year, an average of one every four-and-a-half days.

Page 14: Coalition backbencher Dennis Jensen appears certain to lose his seat in federal Parliament after being rolled in a bitter Liberal Party preselection brawl at the weekend.

Page 15: Australian involvement in building a giant optical telescope in South America will strengthen its bid for the $2.6 billion Square Kilometre Array project in WA, according to Federal Science Minister Kim Carr.

Page 17: A construction worker crushed under 1.7 tonnes of glass at a city building site was in a stable condition yesterday as the building union intensified its claims of poor safety standards.

Business: Troubled pubs owner Compass Hotel Group will come under intense pressure from its heavyweight institutional shareholders this week to explain whether it can avoid collapse, following the sudden resignation of its chief executive and most of the board.

The credentials of former Ford boss Jacques Nasser and Commonwealth Bank of Australia chairman John Schubert as potential successors to BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus will come under the microscope this week as succession planning for the top job at the big miner intensifies.

It was a case of long delayed and much forgotten for Mindax, which received governmental clearance last week to drill for iron or in the Yilgarn but failed to elicit any cheers from shareholders.

With the merger of ABB Grain and Canadian giant Viterra looming, debt-laden conglomerate Elders has again found itself in the spotlight as the subject of takeover speculation.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The sound of popping champagne corks has barley faded for BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, celebrating their historic iron ore join venture in the Pilbara, but the realisation has now hit that the game has changed forever.

A proposal by the Commonwealth Grants Commission that would compensate the fastest-growing states for the pressure of burgeoning populations on infrastructure in the GST carve-up is set to spark a new row among state leaders.

The Rudd government plans a tender shake-up to help local companies compete for the estimated $26 billion it spends annually on goods and services, but has rejected a union push to give suppliers a 20 per cent price advantage over foreign bidders.

Telstra has been forced to consider a demerger of its business after the Rudd government flagged a preference for shareholders to take a direct stake in the $47 billion national broadband network company.

Page 3: Tax accountants are gearing up this week for their busiest period of the year cash-conscious taxpayers meet advisers to thrash out what to claim in their tax returns.

Page 4: The Stern Hu affair was not about espionage or targeting the Australian government over its foreign investment policies, but was instead entirely related to a Chinese criminal investigation into iron ore price negotiations, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith insisted yesterday.

Page 5: Business is putting pressure on the federal government to make further concessions on the taxation of employee share schemes, warning the current position does not fully align the interests of directors and executives with shareholders.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to get reassurance this week that inflation pressures are easing, though the chances of more interest rate cuts appear to be receding given the unexpected resilience of the economy.

Page 9: Cracks are emerging in the move towards a national consumer law after West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell accused the federal government of ignoring the states and making unilateral changes that disadvantage small business.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Private pathology corporations are seeking doctors' help to mount a mass retreat from bulk-billing -- a move expected to land many patients with out-of-pocket costs averaging $40, or up to $100 in some cases, for tests they typically now receive for free.

Page 2: Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has suggested the union movement's '' Buy Australian'' push at this month's ALP national conference is overblown, saying the Rudd government already buys locally made goods wherever possible.

Employers are demanding the Rudd government abandons plans to water down the powers of the building watchdog, insisting Labor should not reduce penalties for industrial action or allow the watchdog's coercive powers to be switched off.

Page 6: The Chinese government has told Foreign Minister Stephen Smith that jailed Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu's case involves a specific criminal investigation and is not related to broader bilateral trade, commercial or national security concerns.

Business: Iron ore prices have leapt to levels not seen since last year, cushioning Rio Tinto against any financial fallout from its raging diplomatic row with Beijing.

Virgin Blue is courting a Middle East airline to become a "cornerstone" investor as it pursues options to recapitalise the business in the face of increased competition and the severe industry downturn.

Former National Australia Bank executive Ahmed Fahour will join Middle Eastern Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House as its chief executive, after his chance to run Rudd Bank was squashed in the Senate.

The first overseas expansion by Australian broking house Southern Cross Equities has been a little like a glassware company deciding to set up business in London during the blitz of World War II.

How and when is Australia going to get rid of the two bank guarantees that were imposed at the height of the post-Lehman Brothers global panic late last year?

Local investors this week can expect a stiffening flow of earnings and production announcements ahead of the full-year profit reporting season, which starts in earnest next month.

National Australia Bank has accepted its underweight position in personal banking and will now pursue "targeted" growth with a multi-brand strategy -- not just the "nab" moniker that it relaunched in 2006.

Bruce Gordon's WIN Corporation, the biggest individual shareholder in Quickflix, has not yet indicated whether it will support the DVD rental group's latest capital raising.

Mike Young left for Hong Kong on Saturday evening aboard a Cathay Pacific flight after getting the news he has been waiting for: he will be mining iron ore by next year.

Talk of an alliance between BHP Billiton and Woodside Petroleum has been around for years.
And, despite a recent resurgence of the rumours, neither company has indicated that such a move is imminent, with both declining to comment.

On June 17, Jeffrey Peek, chief executive of CIT Group, spoke at a conference in Washington DC where the keynote speakers were US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke and US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairman Sheila Bair. His real mission there, Peek told others, was to raise his profile among the capital's movers and shakers.

China has named Yi Gang, a US-trained economist and a current vice-governor of the People's Bank of China, as the country's top foreign-exchange regulator.

Virgin Blue is believed to be in talks with a Middle East airline about securing a cornerstone investor as it looks to raise cash to recapitalise the business.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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