12/08/2009 - 06:48

Today's Business Headlines

12/08/2009 - 06:48

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Business rebuffs coalition on climate; China mulls $1bn boost for Fortescue; Rising steel erodes China iron hope; JB Hi-Fi posts massive profit jump; Racing heir named in share trading investigation

Today's Business Headlines

Business rebuffs coalition on climate
Business groups have dismissed Malcolm Turnbull's call for a radical rethink on emissions trading, as the Rudd government intensified its attack on the opposition leader for failing to reach a unified coalition policy on climate change. The Fin Review

China mulls $1bn boost for Fortescue
Fortescue Metals Group and China Investment Corp, China's $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, are in advanced talks on a $1 billion-plus convertible bond investment to help the iron ore miner fund its expansion. The Australian

Rising steel erodes China iron hope
Steel prices in China are rising faster than expected, further denting hopes of mills securing bigger cuts in iron ore contract prices from Australian producers. The Australian

JB Hi-Fi posts massive profit jump
JB HI-Fi's share price rose to a new high on Tuesday after brushing off the economic downturn with a record profit and expectations of 20 per cent sales growth this financial year. Daily Telegraph

Racing heir named in share trading investigation
The heir to the Ingham chicken breeding and horse racing empire, Ben Ingham, is among those named in queries from the corporate regulator as part of an investigation into share trading activities. Sydney Morning Herald

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: Malcolm Turnbull has stared down internal Liberal Party hostility over climate change policy and kept alive his ambition to steer opposition support for an amended emissions trading scheme later in the year.

Page 5: AirAsia X has launched the biggest and cheapest seat sale offered to WA travellers, with return flights to London for $554.

The number of Australian households buying cheaper home-brand groceries has grown in the wake of the global economic downturn, according to the latest Nielsen survey.

Page 10: Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has confirmed it has moved non-Chinese workers out of China after the arrest of four of its workers for allegedly stealing state secrets.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says Australia has survived the worst of the global recession while admitting higher unemployment and another quarter of negative growth are possible.

Page 13: WA fishermen and environmentalists have condemned a federal fishing proposal that could open up more than 10,000sqkm of pristine ocean floor to damaging trawlers.

A construction worker was critically injured yesterday when he fell from scaffolding on a Perth building site.

Page 16: The grieving fiancée of a mine worker killed at work has supported calls for an industry-wide safety audit after her worst fears came true.

Page 17: Veteran Nationals MP Max Trenorden has broken with his leader Brendon Grylls over the use of Royalties for Regions funds to force councils into amalgamations.

Business: A senior Clive Peeters manager bought and sold more than 40 residential properties around the country during a two-year investment spree, allegedly funded with $20 million siphoned from company coffers.

China's reach into the resources sector has been extended to include a direct stake in uranium exploration in WA.

Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has stepped up her campaign to gain federal government approval for a $7.5 billion coal project in Queensland after the launch yesterday of a two-week public consultation period.

Corporate Law Minister Chris Bowen plans to "proceed carefully" on a request from the corporate regulator form phone-tapping powers, saying he is mindful of civil liberty and other concerns.

Fortescue Metals Group has again become the focus of investor attention amid reports an oft-mooted billion-dollar tie-up with China Investment Corp was close to fruition.

China's industrial output, trade and retail sales improved in July, data showed yesterday, in positive signs for Beijing's multi-billion-dollar effort to restore stable growth in the world's third-biggest economy.

Listed Applecross-based property fund Questus has been forced to defend its financial viability after the Australian Securities Exchange queried its fourth-quarter report.

Shares in the unstoppable JB Hi-Fi soared to a record high yesterday, as the discount electronics retailer stormed into the new financial year with predictions of 20 per cent sales growth and stunned investors by lifting its dividend payout 70 per cent.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Ralph Norris has made it clear he is not in it to be popular.

Australia's largest medical services group has warned patients to expect higher out-of-pocket charges as providers seek to protect profit margins in the face of federal funding cuts.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has warned the economy could contract in future quarters despite evidence that improving orders and sales have pushed business confidence to levels not seen in almost two years.

Business groups have dismissed Malcolm Turnbull's call for a radical rethink on emissions trading, as the Rudd government intensified its attack on the opposition leader for failing to reach a unified coalition policy on climate change.

Page 3: The Australian Taxation Office has capitulated in almost half the 53,750 cases of taxpayers who objected to their tax bills over the past four years, raising doubts about the ability of the agency's auditors to collect extra tax.

Page 8: Manufacturers and builders are more confident about forward orders as the federal government's stimulus money hits building sites and factory floors across the country, but some are worried about what happens when the money stops.

Page 9: West Australian Treasurer Troy Buswell has admitted major government departments are ignoring directives to halt the rapid growth in employee numbers, but pins the blame on the previous Labor government.

Page 11: Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett must decide by September 8 whether to grant the final approval needed for the $50 billion Gorgon gas project on Western Australia to proceed, raising hopes that construction work can begin on Barrow Island before the end of the year.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The economic forecasts in the May budget were too pessimistic and will have to be revised higher as the government's stimulus spending drives a revival in manufacturing and construction industries.

Page 2: Imprisoned Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu is expected to have been officially arrested by today, when further details of the accusations against him will be made public, although he may not be charged with any offences until as late as next May.

Page 3: Sonia Causer, in her own strange way, could be employee of the month. The senior accountant is accused of siphoning millions of dollars by fiddling the books of her employer, whitegoods giant Clive Peeters.

An ailing Alan Jones and disgraced shock jocks Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O have topped the latest Sydney radio ratings, even as both parties endure enforced stints off air.

Page 4: The coalition will tweak rather than block controversial budget cuts to the Medicare safety net, but hold out for more wide-ranging changes to legislation that could force home births underground.

Page 5: Malcolm Turnbull's "cleaner, cheaper, smarter" emissions trading proposals could prove expensive for Australian taxpayers, two leading industry groups have warned, as Kevin Rudd ridiculed the plan as a "non-policy" that didn't add up.

Page 7: Fat bonuses paid to lobbyists in the form of "success fees" are an open invitation to shonky behaviour, according to one of the most senior figures in the industry in NSW.

NSW Premier Nathan Rees bungled the sacking of Tony Stewart by relying on the findings of an inquiry rather than making a straightforward political decision, the state's top court will be told today.

Business: JB Hi-Fi has reaffirmed its position as the standout performer in the retail sector, recording its best ever full-year result despite the economic downturn, and predicting an even better sales performance this year.

National Australian Bank will appeal against a New Zealand court ruling over a potential tax bill that could cost the bank's subsidiary $NZ661 million ($531m) in a case that has implications for all Australian major banks.

Rural giant AAco has capped one of the most turbulent years in its history with a $30 million half-year loss and the departure of chief executive Stephen Toms.

Steel prices in China are rising faster than expected, further denting hopes of mills securing bigger cuts in iron ore contract prices from Australian producers.

Fortescue Metals Group and China Investment Corp, China's $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, are in advanced talks on a $1 billion-plus convertible bond investment to help the iron ore miner fund its expansion.

China-focused goldminer Sino Gold has been forced to suspend operations at its White Mountain operation because protesting farmers have blocked roads leading to the project.

Avoca Resources has clearly tired of waiting on the Dioro Exploration board to decide between the competing scrip bids of Avoca and Ramelius Resources.

Hearing implant maker Cochlear is banking on the launch of new ear products to drive earnings growth in the second half of the financial year.

The merger between Hutchison Australia and Vodafone Australia has given Hutchison a $552 million first-half profit, thanks in large part to the sale of its "3" mobiles business.

Businessman and horseracing identity Andrew Sigalla has been accused of theft in the US following the disappearance of property from the Chicago office of TZ Limited.

Westfield Group, the world's biggest shopping centre owner, has received commitments of more than $US1.4 billion ($1.67bn) for a $US1.25bn loan after courting investors in Asia.

A federal judge has delayed a decision on whether to approve a $US33 million ($39.5m) settlement of allegations that Bank of America failed to disclose to investors that Merrill Lynch agreed to pay billions of dollars in bonuses on the eve of their merger.

General Motors and eBay, looking to jump-start sluggish vehicle sales at both companies, have rolled out a pilot program that allows customers to buy a new car by negotiating online with dealers.

The Australian sharemarket brushed off a weak start yesterday to finish on a firmer note, with stronger banking stocks outweighing falls from the miners.

One of the biggest challenges facing listed investment companies is their deep share-price discounts to the value of their portfolios.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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