Today's Business Headlines

25/09/2009 - 06:50

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Barnett vows to slash spending; China stung by tougher FIRB rules; Labor to consider 8pm shop closing; Kontiki duster deflates Karoon; New home sales jump

Today's Business Headlines

Barnett vows to slash spending
The Barnett government has recorded a healthy $318 million surplus for 2008-09, but has vowed to seriously slash government spending and tackle a major blowout in its public service wages bill. The Australian

China stung by tougher FIRB rules
A major Chinese mining group has abandoned a $770 million deal in Western Australia after the federal government applied a new investment guideline forcing foreigners to limit their stake in Greenfield resources projects to below 50 per cent. The Fin.

Labor to consider 8pm shop closing
Premier Colin Barnett has pushed Labor to once again consider releasing weeknight shopping hours after sending Labor opposition leader Eric Ripper a letter yesterday suggesting an 8pm compromise. The West

Kontiki duster deflates Karoon
Market darling Karoon Gas Australia has reported a disappointing result from a key exploration well off Western Australia, lopping more than 20 per cent of its shares. The Australian

New home sales jump
Western Australia is playing catch up to NSW as the state with the highest mortgage arrears, as softening property prices and a pullback in the mining industry have caused a rise in defaults. The Fin

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Traffic police may soon be driving family sedans instead of high-performance vehicles as part of a measure to meet the 10 per cent cuts to vehicle fleet expenditure demanded by the state government.

Page 3: Australia is firming as one of the favourites to host the soccer World Cup in either 2018 or 2022 after Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith conducted "speed date" diplomacy with key countries on the sidelines of the United Nations gathering in New York.

Page 4: Electricity bills and other household charges would continue to rocket in light of another blowout in the state's finances, the opposition said yesterday.

The state's full year accounts produced by Treasurer Troy Buswell gave little confidence that the government is hitting its targets in hard financial times.

Page 9: Premier Colin Barnett has pushed Labor to once again consider releasing weeknight shopping hours after sending Labor opposition leader Eric Ripper a letter yesterday suggesting an 8pm compromise.

Page 11: Kevin Rudd has used the plight of 13,000 people in south-eastern Perth who have lost their jobs in the global recession to urge radical reform to the way the world does business.

Page 12: The Johnnie Walker Classic, Perth's only taste of international golf, has been shelved indefinitely.

Page 15: Rock lobster restrictions imposed by the state government to protect plummeting larvae populations could mean a mass exodus of fisherman, the industry has warned.

Page 17: Plums from the South-West could be in short supply because cold weather has killed off bees vital for pollination.

Business: Australia's fractured relationship with Beijing is expected to be further tested by a signal yesterday that the foreign investment watchdog will block attempts by China Inc to by big stakes in major Australian mines.

China's Consul General to WA, Li Shugang, on Tuesday called for more Federal Government support in the Middle Kingdom's quest to do business in Australia.

Moly Mines has set the ball rolling on plans to tap institutional investors for as much as $US100 million ($114 million), yesterday launching a book-build intended to fund the development of its Pilbara iron ore project.

Shares in Australia's biggest brick and tile maker, Brickworks, soared 12.8 per cent yesterday on a 5 per cent increase in its normalised annual net profit to $113.7 million.

Macquarie Media Group could emerge with a key stake in Ten Network Holdings as a result of ailing owner CanWest's move to sell its 50 per cent stake to reduce debt.

Karoon Gas' stunning share price run has come to a shuddering halt after the high-flying company failed to match investor expectations of another massive gas discovery in the Browse Basin off WA's North-West.

The Mid-West region is closer to having a new iron ore mine, with the State Government expected to confirm today it will allow China's Sinosteel Midwest Corp to mine a contentious deposit within its Koolanooka-Blue Hills project.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: A major Chinese mining group has abandoned a $770 million deal in Western Australia after the federal government applied a new investment guideline forcing foreigners to limit their stake in greenfield resources projects to below 50 per cent.

Investment banks are pushing up salaries to levels rivalling the peak of the bull market, as base pay for some top earners has been doubled and guaranteed bonuses are locked in for years in what some insiders suspect may be a final hurrah before a global crackdown on industry remuneration.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has urged the Group of 20 summit to commit the world's leading economies to new rules to promote sustainable economic growth and reduce the risk of another global financial crisis.

Page 3: The West Australian government presided over a $1.1 billion blow-out in spending even as its revenues collapsed in the wake of the global economic slowdown, but the state still managed to post a 2008-09 budget surplus of $318 million.

Page 5: The Australia Taxation Office will be able to dig deeper into the dealings of bakns after it issued disclosure requirements forcing institutions to hand over more sensitive information about heir cross-border transactions.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan keep telling us we're not out of the woods yet, but the government is confident enough about the economy to end the politicians' pay freeze.

Page 7: Big carbon emitters have warned that unresolved aspects of the federal government's emissions trading scheme mean many industries are still in the dark about policy decisions that could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Page: 9: Western Australia is playing catch up to NSW as the state with the highest mortgage arrears, as softening property prices and a pullback in the mining industry have caused a rise in defaults.

Page 10: The revealing comments from the Foreign Investment Review Board yesterday, coincidentally timed with a decision to in effect block an investment from China in rare earths play Lynas Corp, will make many in the mining industry sit up and take notice.

Page 43: David Jones chief executive Mark McInnes has gone on the offensive ahead of the $3 billion listing of his major rival, Myer, flagging 15 to 25 per cent sales growth and higher new growth margins as the retailer enters a new growth phase after emerging unscathed from the retail downturn.

Building materials maker CSR will replace its embattled managing director after three years in the job once he wraps up a demerger of the 154-year-old sugar business.

Page 46: Mount Gibson Iron chief executive Luke Tonkin says he expects the introduction of China's second larges cocking coal producer as a new major shareholder is a positive move and will not affect the company's offtake agreements.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Rudd government is under pressure to bring its banking guarantees to an early end, now the banks are clearly out of danger and able to raise funds on their own.

The creator of the "Kevin 07" advertising campaign, Neil Lawrence, has been recruited by coal-mining companies to design a multi-million dollar advertising campaign against the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme, to be launched next week in key marginal seats.

Page 4: Malcolm Turnbull has branded Treasury secretary Ken Henry "an ambassador" for the government, rejecting the value of his defence of the Rudd government's economic stimulus plan.

The Barnett government has recorded a healthy $318 million surplus for 2008-09, but has vowed to seriously slash government spending and tackle a major blowout in its public service wages bill.

Australia's households have weathered the words effects of the financial downturn, are meeting their loan repayments and increasingly looking to start investing again in shares and property as conditions improve.

Page 6: Kevin Rudd's bid for a seamless national economy will fail unless the Federal and State Labor government stare own opposition from the unions and the West Australian Liberals, and press ahead with national workplace safety laws.

Business: Australian institutional investors snapped up more than 50 per cent of Ten Network yesterday in a $680 million deal that provided another sign investors are betting Australia's economy is on the road to recovery.

Department store group David Jones has reported a 14 per cent increase in annual profit and made a strong start to the new financial year as it prepares for arch rival Myer to return to the stockmarket.

The securities of Centro Properties Group soared more than 40 per cent yesterday as retail investors traded more than a quarter of the stock and pushed the market capitalisation of the cash-strapped shopping centre owner up by $73 million.

Predicting recent Chinese coking coal import demand is here to stay, Anglo American wants to double its global coking coal production by boosting output from its Queensland mines.

Market darling Karoon Gas Australia has reported a disappointing result from a key exploration well off Western Australia, lopping more than 20 per cent of its shares.

Litigation funder IMF (Australia) expects a $17 million pre-tax profit from the settlement negotiated by Sons of Gwalia administrator Ferrier Hodgson and the collapsed gold miner's former auditor Ernst & Young.

Wayne Swan should take a close look at the latest Chinese shuffle on the Mount Gibson share register.

CSR says its long mooted plan to split its sugar and renewable energy business from its building products, aluminium and property business remains "on track", and that a new chief executive will take over once the proposed demerger is completed.

Brickworks, Australia's biggest brick and tile maker, says the first home owners grant has had a limited impact on the building industry so far due to high fallover rates prior to commencement and lengthy delays in getting projects moving.

Nicholas Bolton's attempts to take control of the Brookfield Multiplex-backed Multiplex Prime Property Fund have failed, after the Takeovers Panel last night ruled that the renegade shareholder's $700,000 bid was launched in unacceptable circumstances.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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