13/08/2009 - 06:47

Today's Business Headlines

13/08/2009 - 06:47

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BHP warns idle capacity threatens price recovery; Rhodes, Cole names in Great Southern cattle writ; CBA chief warns of a further downturn, despite $4.7bn profit; Confidence hits two-year peak; China softens charges against Hu

Today's Business Headlines

BHP warns idle capacity threatens price recovery
BHP Billiton does not expect to understand the true state of global metals demand until next year as the mining giant warned the world's recovery from recession would be slower than usual. The West

Rhodes, Cole names in Great Southern cattle writ
Former Great Southern chief Cameron Rhodes and senior Perth lawyer Steven Cole are among the defendants in a $52 million lawsuit launched by investors in the failed company's cattle schemes. The West

CBA chief warns of a further downturn, despite $4.7bn profit
Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris has warned that a second wave of the financial crisis cannot be ruled out, despite a strong margin performance helping CBA beat market expectations with a net annual profit of $4.7 billion. The Australian

Confidence hits two-year peak
Consumers are shrugging off the economic downturn, as a record surge in confidence fuels hopes that households will sustain their spending despite rising unemployment and fading support from government handouts. The Fin Review

China softens charges against Hu
China has changed tack from accusing Australian Stern Hu of stealing state secrets to charging him with commercial espionage and taking bribes, providing a potential ''circuit-breaker'' in the fraught relationship between the two countries but placing the detained Rio Tinto executive in a new predicament. The Age

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: People retiring with modest superannuation payouts could "buy" a lifetime top-up to the age pension from the government under a plan being examined by the Henry review of tax policy.

Page 11: The public sector watchdog has uncovered a "litany of corporate transgressions" by a senior Department of Water employee who spent thousands of taxpayers' dollars on gifts such as iPods and junkets for colleagues.

Page 13: Australian consumers have declared the global recession over and are planning ways to buy new plasma screen TVs, hybrid fuel cars and increasingly expensive homes.

The number of new apprentices at WA's biggest training provider doubled last month, compared with July last year, in a small but important sign of economic improvement.

Page 15: Jetstar has responded to the cut-price fares announced by AirAsia by dropping its Perth to Bali fares to $99 one way for limited periods next year.

Business: BHP Billiton does not expect to understand the true state of global metals demand until next year as the mining giant warned the world's recovery from recession would be slower than usual.

Former Great Southern chief Cameron Rhodes and senior Perth lawyer Steven Cole are among the defendants in a $52 million lawsuit launched by investors in the failed company's cattle schemes.

Takeover target Dioro Exploration has dismissed suitor Avoca Resources' claim its offer is far superior to that of rival bidder Ramelius Resources.

Western Areas has struck a deal intended to help it cash in on more than 120,000 tonnes of low-grade nickel at its Forrestania project about 400km south-east of Perth.

Claims the Department of Environment and Conservation staff were involved in a campaign against a $200 million salt project are being investigated by the public sector watchdog.

The Barnett government has angered science bodies by suspending WA's inventor of the year award and dramatically reducing the prize pool for the state's science awards because of "challenging" financial conditions.

BankWest has halted the customer exodus suffered during its former parent's cash crisis, with an aggressive push for new business by new owner Commonwealth Bank helping the WA lender outgrow the deposits market.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Motorists would pay taxes based on how far they drive and trucks would be charged more to reflect the road damage they cause in a proposed major overhaul of the user-pays approach to transport charges across the country.

BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers is cautious about signs of recovery in the economy, suggesting firm evidence of improved underlying demand for commodities will not emerge until next year.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has launched a wide-ranging investigation into possible insider trading by members of two of Australia's most prominent families.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief executive Ralph Norris has warned that the bank faces a challenging year ahead even after delivering a better than expected annual cash profit of $4.4 billion, underpinned by expanding market share in mortgages and household savings.

Page 3: Queensland and West Australian governments hit back yesterday at claims by NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal that proposed changes to the redistribution of GST revenue would punish larger states and leave NSW with a $500 million hole in its budget each year.

Consumers are shrugging off the economic downturn, as a record surge in confidence fuels hopes that households will sustain their spending despite rising unemployment and fading support from government handouts.

Page 6: Chinese prosecutors have moved to charge Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and three of his colleagues with improperly obtaining secrets about China's steel industry and receiving bribes from industry executives, dropping a more serious accusation of stealing state secrets.

Page 7: The Australian Industry Group has accused unions of using a loophole in the Rudd government's workplace relations laws to delay votes on enterprise agreements and will argue in a test case that the new regulator is interpreting the law too broadly.

Page 13: The sharp reversal in Leighton Holdings' once spectacular growth spurt will be confirmed tomorrow when the engineering and construction giant delivers a slump in annual profits and more write-downs in the fourth quarter from its toll-road investments.

Western Areas has pushed the button on two expansion projects at its Forrestania operation in Western Australia which are key to furthering the company's claims to being Australia's premier independent nickel producer.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 2: Malcolm Turnbull has promised to negotiate with the government on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme later in the year, after the Coalition votes against it today. But many in his party remain unconvinced that humans are causing climate change.

The economic downturn is over as far as consumers are concerned, with rising share and housing prices boosting confidence to its best level in almost two years.

Page 5: The heads of state treasury departments are preparing for a showdown on the division of GST revenues in Canberra today, with resource states Queensland and Western Australia claiming the tax should be used to help build their infrastructure.

Page 7: After five weeks without charge in a Shanghai jail, Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and his three Chinese colleagues will see a lawyer for the first time after the case against them was yesterday downgraded to bribery and stealing business secrets.

The federal government hopes to lure more mothers back to work by making childcare more appealing, a study reveals.

More than 150 walk-in clinics staffed by nurses instead of doctors are to open across the country following a deal between a Perth operator and a pharmacy chain.

Business: Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris has warned that a second wave of the financial crisis cannot be ruled out, despite a strong margin performance helping CBA beat market expectations with a net annual profit of $4.7 billion.

Marius Kloppers says BHP Billiton does not hoard cash for the sake of it. So the fact that he has $US11 billion ($13.3bn) worth of the green stuff sitting heavy on an under-geared balance sheet would suggest BHP's boss would like to put a lot more on his plate than the Pilbara iron ore joint venture with Rio Tinto.

BHP Billiton has broken a seven-year run of record profits, posting its first full-year fall since 2002 as the global financial crisis sliced 30 per cent from underlying earnings.

BHP Billiton's profit surge in its iron ore and coal divisions is expected to continue, with the world's largest miner confident the recent increase in demand for its products will continue.

BHP Billiton's significant drop in net profit was driven by the commodity price slump, causing a decline across its diversified operations, with an 83 per cent hit to its base metals projects.

Western Areas has committed to double its production at its West Australian nickel mine as the price for the commodity hovers around a new high.

China's iron ore imports were likely to remain high, supported by rising steel demand, analysts said yesterday, dismissing comments by a senior government official who blamed speculators for the record high volumes.

The newly appointed board members of the federal government's national broadband network company will each be paid $90,000 a year -- almost three times less than Telstra's directors receive.

Building supplies and construction company Fletcher Building has predicted the property market will continue to remain subdued and uncertain this financial year after it reported a $NZ46 million ($37.25m) loss for the year ending June 30.

Commonwealth Bank customers who took out loans to invest with Storm Financial will meet with lawyers in Brisbane tonight to discuss a resolution scheme that could lead to some mortgages being dissolved.

The Rudd government's tax crackdown on Australians working offshore is likely to have broader implications for corporate Australia.

ING, the largest Dutch financial-services company, said second-quarter profit fell 96 per cent, more than analysts estimated, as it set aside money for risky loans and reduced the value of its real estate holdings.

The US government is investigating whether several US companies took part in a cross-border scheme to siphon oil products from Mexico's state oil company and smuggle them across the border.

The Federal Reserve, with $US900 million ($1.09 trillion) on the line, is getting actively involved in the biggest hotel bankruptcy, an awkward role for the central bank as it tries to shore up the financial system.

Intercontinental Hotels Group has revealed a second-quarter net loss as it wrote down the value of operations hurt by the economic downturn and said a recovery in the global hotel industry was still some way off.

Economists are nearly unanimous that Ben Bernanke should be reappointed to another term as Federal Reserve chairman and say there is a 71 per cent chance President Barack Obama will ask him to stay on.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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