17/08/2009 - 06:46

Today's Business Headlines

17/08/2009 - 06:46

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Woodside urged to pick up Pluto pace; Property sector takes a $51bn hit; Banks tighten credit to first-homebuyers; Amcor joins raising rush in $2.4bn Rio package deal; Commodities slump to hit Rio Tinto

Woodside urged to pick up Pluto pace
Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte will come under pressure from investors this week to deliver proof that the $12 billion Pluto LNG project's much-vaunted expansion is about to start. The West

Property sector takes a $51bn hit
Australia's bruised and battered property industry has seen $51 billion wiped off the total worth of its assets under management in a single year as falling property values, sales and corporate collapses have taken their toll. The Australian

Banks tighten credit to first-homebuyers
Six of the country's nine banks have tightened the amount of money they are prepared to lend to first-home buyers in a response to claims that the Federal Government's cash handouts to the housing market are causing a bubble in prices. Sydney Morning Herald

Amcor joins raising rush in $2.4bn Rio package deal
After four years mending the mistakes of the past, Ken MacKenzie is poised to transform Amcor into the world's biggest packaging company with the acquisition of its largest competitor, Rio Tinto's Alcan Packaging business, for $2.4 billion. The Fin Review

Commodities slump to hit Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto's first half earnings are expected to plunge 51 per cent due to a slump in commodity prices, when the mining giant reveals its results this week. Daily Telegraph

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Liberal Party anger with their Nationals partners bubbled to the surface yesterday as the government's push to extend weekday shopping hours to 9pm appeared doomed.

Page 4: The global financial crisis has failed to dampen the spirits of throngs of WA water lovers, with numbers through the gates and sales of boats at the 2009 Club Marine Perth Boat and Leisure Show on par with last year.

Page 6: Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has ruled out introducing performance pay for teachers linked solely to how well their students do in tests.

Page 15: Too much red tape and complicated funding arrangements could prevent the federal government from improving indigenous health, according to a report to be released today.

Business: Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte will come under pressure from investors this week to deliver proof that the $12 billion Pluto LNG project's much-vaunted expansion is about to start.

The scale of the resurgent bonus culture at Britain's banks has been laid bare by official figures that show $14.9 billion of bonuses have been paid in the city this year and news that Barclays is attempting top poach five commodity traders with a package worth $59.3 million.

NRW Holdings' sharemarket recovery is set to pick up pace this week when it confirms that some of Australia's biggest institutional investors have acquired a $33.3 million shareholding in the WA mining and civil contractor.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: After four years mending the mistakes of the past, Ken MacKenzie is poised to transform Amcor into the world's biggest packaging company with the acquisition of its largest competitor, Rio Tinto's Alcan Packaging business, for $2.4 billion.

The Rudd government's renewable energy target could be passed as soon as this week after it said it would split the legislation from the rest of the climate change package, potentially sparking billions of dollars of investment in green energy.

Page 3: The federal government is considering cutting back on migration that is of little value to the economy by imposing a minimum salary level below which permanent skilled migrants cannot enter Australia and putting a cap on the number of workers in some occupations.

Page 4: Western Australia appears likely to retain its prized AAA credit rating until at least December after Treasurer Troy Buswell reassured ratings agencies he would find additional savings measures to help offset a rapid deterioration in the state's financial position.

Page 5: An independent body should publish daily updates of global and Australian fertiliser prices to provide greater competition in a market that is dominated by Incitec Pivot, a Senate committee will recommend this week.

Page 7: For solar energy retailer Luke Wexler, introduction of the renewable energy target cannot come soon enough.

Big concerns have been raised about the problems of running electricity networks using large amounts of green power.

Page 8: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has cast doubt over a proposal that could see it take control of investigations into overseas suppliers swamping local producers with cheap imports.

Page 12: For those like Brian Flannery, who have been in the mining industry for more than 30 years, it's easy to see why the temptation to take the money and run has become impossible to resist.

Page 13: The board of Dioro Exploration appears set to endorse the takeover offer by Ramelius Resources after it potentially ended Avoca Resources' chances of securing control of the company by telling shareholders not to accept that company's final offer.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Shoppers face a jump in grocery prices of up to 7 per cent under Labor's scheme to reduce carbon emissions, prompting calls for the Rudd government to come up with a compensation package to help low-and middle-income families.

Page 2: The first national broadband network rollout, in Tasmania, will cost an estimated $20,000 for each premises that takes up the superfast internet connection -- and business leaders say its impact may be minimal.

Gaoled Rio Tinto executive, Australian Stern Hu, has personally hired leading Shanghai lawyer Duan Qihan to defend him against accusations of bribery and illegally obtaining trade secrets.

Julia Gillard has vowed to maintain the government's commitment to its economic stimulus package, arguing that to wind it back would be like "pulling the rug out from the economy".

As the flurry of first-home buyers entering the market steadies, property commentators are predicting the return of the investor to the fray.

Page 3: The future of the Royal Flying Doctor Service is under a cloud as private operators attempt to seize lucrative government contracts in three states, forcing the not-for-profit organisation to once again ask for commonwealth protection and greater financial support.

Page 4: Penny Wong is under pressure to use some of the federal government's $3.1 billion water buyback fund to purchase the Cubbie station cotton farm as well as its licence to store enough water in a wet year to fill Sydney Harbour.

Renewable energy legislation is likely to pass the Senate this week after the government agreed yesterday to separate industry compensation for the plan from payments for the costs of the defeated emissions trading scheme.

Two senior Labor-aligned lobbyists have called for lobbyist registers to be expanded to include the multitude of "in house" government relations staff employed by large companies.

Page 5: Better teachers should receive higher pay, a report into teaching quality commissioned by the state and federal governments has found.

Page 8: Investors in an aquaculture company whose abalone breeding programs were hit by mortality rates of up to 100 per cent have launched a bid to keep the venture going.

A central Queensland mine worker is being sued for defamation after he accused a local union executive of trying to force him to rejoin the union by threatening to use physical violence.

Business: Steve Targett came to the ANZ Bank with a strong international banking pedigree and hopes of becoming the bank's next chief executive.

Amcor looks set to finally unveil its $2.4 billion acquisition of Rio's Alcan Packaging as early as today, complete with a $1.6bn equity raising.

It was at a restaurant in Melbourne's grand Port Authority Building that the Winteray Group -- a fledgling boutique investment house -- chose to introduce itself to an audience of about 100 potential investors.

Australia's bruised and battered property industry has seen $51 billion wiped off the total worth of its assets under management in a single year as falling property values, sales and corporate collapses have taken their toll.

Profit reporting this week is expected to continue its fine start to the season with 60 or more major companies due to give numbers and prospects -- among them Onesteel, Origin Energy, Qantas, Woodside, Rio Tinto and Wesfarmers.

The second round of the government's stimulus spending is beginning to bite, with the construction and manufacturing industries responding to the treatment.

Fortescue Metals Group is expected to release details of a multi-billion-dollar deal with China's Export-Import Bank today that will bankroll the expansion of the company's Pilbara operation.

The largest sharemarket float since the global financial crisis -- that of the country's online car classifieds leader, Carsales.com.au -- is set to be launched to the public today in an initial public offering that values the company at $812 million.

Challenger Group has won a court appeal over a $2 million commission it was forced to pay for an introduction to a financial planning group.

ANZ Bank could have saved about $200 million in settlement costs and untold damage to its reputation if it had followed an internal recommendation in early 2007 to exit the Opes Prime business instead of ramping it up.

Small gold miners in Western Australia are searching for scale and synergies in Kalgoorlie's old goldfields, but lack of asset quality will make consolidation difficult.

Major iron ore producers might have a firm grip on the Pilbara region but China has positioned itself firmly in the emerging Mid West mining province of Western Australia in a strategic play to control future supplies.

Rio Tinto's first-half earnings are expected to plunge 51 per cent due to a slump in commodity prices, when the mining giant reveals its results this week.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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