14/08/2009 - 06:49

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14/08/2009 - 06:49

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Doctors warn if more cuts to health services; Labor tips WA deficit blow-out; Telstra's rookie delivers on old script; China is still BHP's best customer; Shell chief breezes in to talk assets

Doctors warn of more cuts to health services
The Australian Medical Association warned yesterday of a new wave of "secret" cuts to public health which it says could decimate front-line hospital services already struggling to cope with record patient numbers. The West

Labor tips WA deficit blow-out
Western Australia's finances have deteriorated sharply, with a $2.3 billion revenue plunge combining with spiralling expenses forecast to sink the state into deficit for the next four years, according to a report by the state opposition. The Fin Review

Telstra's rookie delivers on old script
Telstra boss, David Thodey, has unveiled a solid first set of annual earnings, but has warned that the company's short-term finances will be susceptible to the economic crisis and other factors. Sydney Morning Herald

China is still BHP's best customer
BHP Billiton's proposed iron ore joint venture with Rio Tinto might be worrying Chinese steel mills, but it did not stop record shipments of iron ore from Port Hedland, BHP's iron ore harbour, heading to China last month. The Australian

Shell chief breezes in to talk assets
Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Peter Voser, one of the most powerful men in the world of oil and gas, has paid a flying visit to WA to meet Premier Colin Barnett and discuss assets, including the controversial $30 billion Woodside Browse LNG project. The West

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Australian Medical Association warned yesterday of a new wave of "secret" cuts to public health which it says could decimate front-line hospital services already struggling to cope with record patient numbers.

Page 4: Perth drivers coughed up $1.2 million more in parking fines last financial year than in 2007-08.

Page 5: Telstra's 1.4 million mostly mum-and-dad shareholders are set to receive dividend cheques totalling $1.7 billion next month after Australia's dominant telecommunications company yesterday reported a 10.3 per cent rise in full-year net profit to $4.1 billion.

Page 6: The Rudd government has vowed to push ahead with a double dissolution election trigger by bringing its rejected emissions trading scheme back to Parliament by November.

Page 10: The state budget was headed for a $300 million deficit this year and debt of more than $23 billion in 2012-13, the Labor opposition claimed yesterday in a major attack on the Barnett government's economic credentials.

Business: Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Peter Voser, one of the most powerful men in the world of oil and gas, has paid a flying visit to WA to meet Premier Colin Barnett and discuss assets, including the controversial $30 billion Woodside Browse LNG project.

Emeco Holdings said yesterday it had received a takeover bid that could end the Perth earthmoving equipment group's troubled three-year stint as a public company.

Telstra boss David Thodey has unveiled a solid first set of annual earnings, but warned that the company's short-term finances would be susceptible to the economic crisis and other factors.

Strained relations in the wake of the Stern Hu affair have failed to slow the flood of Chinese investment into Australian resource companies, with Felix Resources last night recommending a takeover bid from Yanzhou Coal Mining for close to $3.5 billion.

WA farm businesses weathered the global financial crisis better than most last year, with many achieving their highest return on equity in more than a decade, despite the impact of rising input prices, unseasonal weather and a deregulated export market.

Coca-Cola Amatil does not believe skyrocketing sugar prices will dent its forecast of high single-digit earnings and profit growth for the second half of 2009 as favourable exchange rates and other savings combine with a resilient economy to prop up demand for its portfolio of soft drinks, juices, coffees and beers.

Fortescue Metals Group placed its shares in a trading halt yesterday pending "the completion of a commercial negotiation" that sparked renewed talk the Andrew Forrest-led Pilbara miner was close to securing funding for its much-hyped iron ore expansion.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Telstra has torn up the aggressive financial targets of its former chief executive Sol Trujillo, warning that the economic downturn, higher superannuation contributions and delays to its much-heralded IT transformation would leave the telecoms giant nursing flat margins this year.

Business is warning of a surge in litigation and more restrictions in bank lending unless the government softens the proposed new national consumer law.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has put his stamp on the public service with a reshuffle of key departmental heads to reflect the urgency of bringing the budget back into surplus and overseeing politically sensitive infrastructure spending.

Page 3: Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Tony D'Aloisio said insider trading was one of the priority areas for the regulator and warned companies to brace themselves for more regulation in the wake of the financial crisis.

Home owners and buyer face the bleak prospect of interest rate rises unlinked to central bank actions just as housing affordability is worsening and house prices are rising.

Page 4: Western Australia's finances have deteriorated sharply, with a $2.3 billion revenue plunge combining with spiralling expenses forecast to sink the state into deficit for the next four years, according to a report by the state opposition.

Page 5: The federal government has asked its superannuation regulator to investigate super funds that increase fees on employees' retirement savings after they are retrenched or change jobs.

Page 8: Business groups have urged the federal government to postpone another vote on its emissions trading scheme until early next year after the coalition, Greens and independents united in the Senate yesterday to reject the scheme.

Page 13: The Rudd government expects to negotiate changes to the legislation creating its $3.4 billion Automotive Transformation Scheme rather than have it held by wrangling with the opposition and minor parties in the Senate.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Kevin Rudd has finally moved to put his own stamp on the leadership of the public service, appointing five new departmental secretaries including new heads of defence, foreign affairs and finance.

Renewable energy plans, including subsidies for domestic solar panels, could be in place much earlier than expected because the Rudd government is considering altering its climate change plans in the Senate.

Page 2: The Rudd government has vowed to take the fight for its emissions trading scheme to the brink of a double-dissolution election after failing to win the vote of a single non-government senator for the centrepiece climate change policy in its 2007 victory.

Australia's rural woman of the year, Victorian dairy farmer Roma Britnell, believes her industry can get creative and embrace new technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

Page 3: The head of a fledgling Australian company racing to make a swine flu vaccine has launched an extraordinary attack on the federal government's research funding body, accusing it of "bias and discrimination" for failing to fund his project.

Page 5: About $6.3 billion, or 30 per cent of Kevin Rudd's stimulus payments, is still sitting in consumers' bank accounts and could help to prop up retail spending in the second half of the year.

The number of households struggling to make their monthly home loan repayment could double to more than one million by June next year, as higher interest rates and rising unemployment batter working families, according to researcher Fujitsu Consulting.

Drinkers will pay a 70 per cent excise hike on alcopops in perpetuity, at a collective cost of a million dollars a day, after the Senate approved the increase yesterday.

Age 6: The big winners in Kevin Rudd's reshuffle of senior public servants earned their promotions through their work on the government's economic policy.

Page 7: The Bank of Queensland has been given until next week to respond to a draft legal action initiated by former customers of troubled finance group Storm Financial before formal legal action begins.

Business: Telstra has produced a $4.07 billion profit for the 2009 financial year, but new chief executive David Thodey has abandoned most of his predecessor's 2010 guidance targets as the realities of the economic slowdown, and the company's declining fixed-line revenues, kicked in.

Coco-Cola Amatil has flagged high single-digit profit and earnings growth after a record 10.4 per cent rise in net profit to $189.8 million for the six months to June 30.

China has mounted a dual-pronged campaign for better iron ore prices from Australian mines, demanding a larger say in the global trade and unveiling laws that could put the planned iron ore joint venture between Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton at risk of fines of more than $1 billion a year.

Babcock & Brown directors may have breached their duties and the corporations law by operating the investment bank while it was insolvent, and failing to get shareholder approval for a $40 million loan to controversial broker Tricom Equities.

Optus has credited Apple's iPhone for strengthening its position after posting a $139 million profit for the June quarter.

The US Bankruptcy court has ruled that the collapsed Lehman Brothers can pursue a landmark case in which it is seeking first claim on $125 million invested by Australians in a synthetic debt instrument.

Foxtel yesterday confirmed why Kerry Stokes's Seven Network recently made an aggressive push into the pay-TV industry, unveiling a double-digit rise in full-year operating profit and a reduction in customer disconnection rates.

James Packer has cut his losses in the Middle East property market, yesterday resigning from the board of Sunland three years after he joined the Gold Coast-based developer.

BHP Billiton's proposed iron ore joint venture with Rio Tinto might be worrying Chinese steel mills, but it did not stop record shipments of iron ore from Port Hedland, BHP's iron ore harbour, heading to China last month.

Rio Tinto has all but abandoned the potential trade sale of its US thermal coal assets to pay down debt, instead reviving the idea of a partial float on the New York Stock Exchange to raise about $US500 million ($596m).

US retail sales unexpectedly fell in July despite the debut of the government's "cash for clunkers" program, which was meant to jump-start the car business and help turn around the economy.

The German and French economies both grew 0.3 per cent in the second quarter, faring much better than expected and helping ease the contraction of the wider eurozone GDP, which shrank by 0.1 per cent.

The Australian sharemarket closed stronger after its best intraday high since October, boosted by positive comments from the US central bank and an upbeat rerating of the banking sector.

Anti-flu drug developer Biota Holdings plans to return $20 million to shareholders, after finding it had excess capital as it looks forward to greater earnings from its flagship product, Relenza.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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