29/09/2009 - 06:51

Today's Business Headlines

29/09/2009 - 06:51

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RBA fuels budget stimulus debate; Unions 'to resist AWAs by stealth'; Myer cashes in on confidence; Chinese offer $3bn for Nufarm; ASIC turns up heat on ASX

RBA fuels budget stimulus debate
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens has fuelled a new political row over the federal government's policy by endorsing its fiscal stimulus but warning it must stick to its strategy for winding back the spending. The Fin Review

Unions 'to resist AWAs by stealth'
Unions are vowing to oppose Rudd government clauses promoting more flexible work practices between individual employees and employers, declaring them the "poisoned chalice" of Labor's new workplace laws. The Australian

Myer cashes in on confidence
Department store group Myer is banking on strong interest from customers and confident institutional investors to maximise proceeds from the first multi-billion-dollar offering to hit the domestic market since the global financial crisis. The Australian

Chinese offer $3bn for Nufarm
Sinochem Corp is poised to make the country's biggest takeover in Australia, as it considers buying the chemical group Nufarm for nearly $3 billion. Sydney Morning Herald

ASIC turns up heat on ASX
The Australian Securities Exchange has been told to investigate the debacle surrounding listed toll-road builder BrisConnections, as well as examine its treatment of retail investors in general, following a report scrutinising the exchange's performance during last year's market crisis. The Age

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Motorists are racing through Mandurah, with five of the top six metropolitan spots for speeding located in the Peel region.

Page 4: The Rudd government's stimulus measures have been given the tick of approval by Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens, who has also indicated he is keen to start lifting interest rates.

The state government is under pressure to guarantee pensioners living in public housing will not have their recent $35 a week increase swallowed up by rent rises.

Page 5: The head of WA's biggest superannuation fund has won a 23 per cent pay rise despite her agency losing millions of dollars from the retirement nest eggs of its members last year.

Page 6: Proponents of a $3.5 billion urea plant near Collie said yesterday it could increase Australian greenhouse gas emissions by 0.6 per cent, or 3.3 million tonnes a year, if plans to push the carbon dioxide underground were knocked back.

Page 11: The Royalties for Regions program would increase the risk of misconduct in agencies responsible for distributing millions of dollars every year for projects, the Corruption and Crime Commission said in its annual report.

Business: China's Sinochem Corporation is poised to make the country's biggest ever takeover in Australia, as it sizes up buying chemicals group Nufarm for nearly $3 billion.

WA has ranked among the worst states for its excessive liability burden on directors, which the Australian Institute of Company Directors claims will damage business investment and jobs.

Telstra's two-time aspirant to the top job, David Moffatt, has quit after about eight years at the company, raising the possibility that other long-time senior executives may follow suit.

Myer will hit the trading boards on November 2, with a stampede of interest from retail investors underpinning the department store chain's mammoth $2.8 billion float.

The Tropicana gold mine in the north-eastern Goldfields will include a pit up to six kilometres long, 1.5km wide and up to 400-metres deep, owners AngloGold Ashanti and Independence Gold said yesterday as they kicked off the public consultation process for the $540 million venture.

Struggling iron ore miner Territory Resources is hoping to take a major step forward tonight in its financial recovery, with biggest shareholder Noble Group set to take on a $17.6 million debt owed to the Commonwealth Bank.

The Australian Securities Exchange has been told to investigate the debacle surrounding listed toll road builder BrisConnections, as well as examine its treatment of retail investors in general, after a report scrutinising the exchange's performance during last year's market crisis.

ANZ has significantly bolstered its management ranks after snaring former senior Westpac executive Phil Chronican to head its flagship retail banking and wealth management arm.

The main lobby group representing the WA exploration sector says it is unfazed by mining giant Rio Tinto's second land rights victory in less than two years over junior Cazaly Resources, cementing its hold over lucrative parts of the iron ore-rich Pilbara.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens has fuelled a new political row over the federal government's policy by endorsing its fiscal stimulus but warning it must stick to its strategy for winding back the spending.

China has accelerated its acquisition push across the local resources and agribusiness sectors with the $2.8 billion bid by Sinochem Corp for pesticides maker Nufarm.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia has taken the unusual and risky step of going ahead with the $1.8 billion issuance of its latest structured product despite being embroiled in a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office over the hybrid security.

Page 3: The corporate regulator wants the Australian Securities Exchange to conduct a wide-reaching review of improving sharemarket rules, including improving protections for retail investors and undertaking greater surveillance of insider trading.

Page 4: Only five of the top 100 company bosses missed out on a bonus last year, with significantly more bonuses paid out, despite the onset of the global financial crisis.

The Australian Taxation Office is expected to provide further guidance to tax advisers next month over its controversial rethink on the treatment of trusts.

Page 5: Six of the eight states and territories have failed a test developed by the Australian Institute of Company Directors to assess the legal operating environment in which boards make investment decisions.

Page 15: Private equity firms Texas Pacific Group and Blum Capital will reap a sixfold return on their investment in Myer after offering to sell between 80 per cent and 100 per cent of their shareholding into an initial public offering that values the department store chain at as much as $3.1 billion.

Page 16: Fairfax Media deputy chairman Roger Corbett has started meeting institutional investors to confirm support for him becoming chairman, as independent directors rallied around outgoing chairman Ron Walker and hit back in a strongly worded rebuttal of large shareholder Marinya Media's criticism of the company's corporate governance standards and recent acquisitions.

Page 17: Telstra's tough-talking consumer boss David Moffatt is quitting the company after being overlooked for the top job for a second time and will seek other chief executive roles within Australia.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens says there could be a case for the government to defer stimulus spending if the economy looks as if it will overheat in the next two years, conceding there is a trade-off between the government's budget spending and interest rates.

Four years after the national inquiry into teaching reading, one Australian government has finally embraced the key recommendation that children be taught the sounds that make up words as an essential first step in learning to read.

Malcolm Turnbull will be forced to stare down more than two-thirds of the Liberal back bench if he proceeds with his plan to negotiate with the government over amendments to the emissions trading scheme before December's Copenhagen climate change conference.

Page 2: A split has emerged in coalition ranks over the risk of a climate change election, with Nationals leader Warren Truss declaring that outright rejection of an emissions trading scheme could prove a vote-winner.

Coalmining companies have rolled out a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign in key mining areas warning that the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme could force pit closures and job losses.

Some families would be left financially better off if their loved ones died in an industrial accident than in armed service for their country.

Page 3: Private health funds paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeopathy last year, triggering calls for a clampdown to prevent taxpayers' money being spent on unproven treatments.

Page 4: A top US economist has questioned whether economic stimulus packages work, saying they struggle to achieve in the short-term and tend to cause damage in the long run.

The Howard government's good management of the budget and Australia's good luck to go into the crisis with rates that could be cut a long way have helped it to sail through a deep world recession, suffering only a mild downturn, according to Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens.

The Commonwealth Bank, the nation's largest home lender, has become the latest bank to increase its fixed-lending rates ahead of the first official interest rate rise expected by the Reserve Bank within months.

Alan Farrelly, a former editor of The Australian, has died at Cooma near his Jindabyne property in the NSW Snowy Mountains. He was 69.

Page 6: Unions are vowing to oppose Rudd government clauses promoting more flexible work practices between individual employees and employers, declaring them the "poisoned chalice" of Labor's new workplace laws.

The Rudd government's signature training program, aimed at tackling skills shortages and helping retrenched workers, has hit a stumbling block since the states took over the scheme, with the private providers in charge of thousands of places left in limbo or denied funding.

Page 8: A hotly contested preselection involving federal Liberal frontbencher Peter Dutton must be ratified by the leadership of Queensland's merged Liberal National Party, providing a backstop if his bid to switch seats is rejected by the local members.

Business: Department store group Myer is banking on strong interest from customers and confident institutional investors to maximise proceeds from the first multi-billion-dollar offering to hit the domestic market since the global financial crisis.

Takeover talks between China's state-owned Sinochem and agricultural chemicals group Nufarm have advanced with an agreement that could lead to a $2.84 billion offer.

Telstra's consumer boss David Moffatt announced his resignation yesterday after almost 10 years in senior positions at the telco.

The ANZ Bank has recruited veteran banker Phil Chronican to drive the Australian strategy of the bank in a hiring coup that has been described as "an adrenalin shot" that will boost momentum for the domestic banking business.

Anglo-American chief executive Cynthia Carroll says the Rudd government's proposed emissions trading scheme could cost Australia's coal industry $14 billion in its first 10 years of operation, close two of Anglo's mines a decade early and wipe out thousands of jobs.

Miner and metals trader OM Holdings has unveiled a $294.2 million deal to buy into a South African manganese project.

Canadian miner Mega Uranium has been granted the first uranium-specific mining lease to be approved by the Barnett government as the race to build the state's first uranium mine heats up.

The corporate watchdog has told the Australian Securities Exchange to beef up its surveillance of the stockmarket and consider whether entities such as BrisConnections should be allowed to list at all after last year's partly paid shares scandal.

Lend Lease Corporation intends to take full control of the $720 million Primelife business in a friendly takeover that will save the aged care and retirement village operator from asset sales or a major capital raising.

The Seven Network is expected to unveil its new free-to-air digital channel on November 22 after chief executive David Leckie gave ratings provider OzTAM formal notice of the launch last week.

The Obama administration is close to committing as much as $US35 billion ($40.5bn) to help beleaguered state and local housing agencies continue to provide mortgages to low-and moderate-income families, according to administration officials.

The stockmarket's strong rally is facing its next test as companies gear up to announce third-quarter earnings that, while still weak, will very possibly be better than investors expect.

The International Monetary Fund, in a broad self-evaluation, said it acted effectively in combating the global recession, especially in Eastern Europe, a finding that is bound to deepen the debate on the IMF's crisis-fighting abilities.

China's ambition to create "green cities" powered by huge wind farms comes with a dirty little secret: dozens of new coal-fired power plants need to be installed as well.

Just as the financial crisis has morphed into a daily grind instead of a daily fire drill, its peculiar argot has found its way into everyday conversations.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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