01/10/2009 - 06:50

Today's Business Headlines

01/10/2009 - 06:50

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IMF warns on borrowing risk; Timbercorp's assets sold; Watchdog may nip NAB; Labor plans big projects overhaul; WA sees big influx of foreign businesses

Today's Business Headlines

IMF warns on borrowing risk
Massive government borrowing programs threaten to choke a still-fragile global economic recovery by pushing interest rates higher and reducing available credit for the private sector, the International Monetary Fund has warned. The Australian

Timbercorp's assets sold
Investors who sank more than $800 million into Timbercorp's managed forestry schemes are poised to see a return, after US giant Global Forest Partners last night got the green light to buy the failed group's plantation assets for $345 million. The West

Watchdog may nip NAB
Key parts of National Australia Bank's proposed $385 million buyout of Challenger's mortgage management businesses may be blocked by the competition regulator on "market dominance" concerns. Herald Sun

Labor plans big projects overhaul
Infrastructure Australia is investigating a new round of reforms to public-private partnerships to make it cheaper for business to bid on projects and boost competition. The Fin Review

WA sees big influx of foreign businesses
Businesses worldwide are flocking to WA because the state is seen as a rare beacon of economic growth amid the global financial crisis. The West

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Three Australians are dead and there are grave concerns for the wellbeing of at least one other after a powerful tsunami smashed into the neighbouring Pacific nations of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga yesterday, killing more than 100 people.

Page 4: The Reserve Bank is under fresh pressure to lift interest rates as soon as next week after a slew of economic data released yesterday showed the Australian economy was travelling better than expected.

The WA Chamber of Commerce has opened another front in its campaign to pressure the Labor and National parties to overturn their "misguided" opposition to longer metropolitan shopping hours.

Page 5: WA's biggest superannuation fund GESB spent tens of thousands of members' money flying its board members to New Zealand on a junket last year, it has emerged.

Kraft has abandoned plans to rename its new blend of Vegemite and cream cheese iSnack2.0.

Page 10: There are fears many West Australians will get caught in the dark side of the next boom if there are not enough workers, infrastructure and houses to cope with the rapid economic growth.

Page 11: The number of temporary skilled migrants to WA has almost halved this financial year, and a migration agency claims recent changes will make it even harder to import 457 visa workers during the next boom.

Page 13: WA doctors say they are being forced to turn away irate patients wanting the swine flu vaccine because the federal government has rolled out its $100 million immunisation program before GP clinics got their stock.

Page 16: Magellan Metals has begun exporting sealed shipments of lead carbonate concentrate through the Fremantle Port but Greens MLA Adele Carles has called for an immediate halt, claiming existing lead contamination issues in the area are unresolved.

Page 18: John Borshoff is the flip side to the often heated argument about corporate greed. As chief executive and founder of the successful Perth-based uranium mining company Paladin Energy, he rejected a $720,000 bonus offered to him this year by the company's board.

Business: Investors who sank more than $800 million into Timbercorp's managed forestry schemes are poised to see a return, after US giant Global Forest Partners last night got the green light to buy the failed group's plantation assets for $345 million.

Businesses worldwide are flocking to WA because the state is seen as a rare beacon of economic growth amid the global financial crisis.

Fortescue Metals Group insisted its expansion plan was on track despite failing to secure up to $US6 billion ($6.8 billion) in debt from Baosteel and other members of China's steel industry by last night's deadline.

Former clients of high-profile Patersons Securities stockbroker Eric Hawley have taken their grievances to the Federal Court in an attempt to seek $13 million in compensation.

Galaxy Resources has launched a $65 million capital raising to help bring its Mt Cattilin lithium project near Ravensthorpe into production.

The Australian Securities Exchange will demand compensation from the Rudd government as a result of a sweeping shake-up of market regulation which will see the exchange operator stripped of some of its powers to supervise brokers.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Company boards will face re-election if a quarter of shareholder votes are against their pay policies at successive annual general meetings, under proposals by the Productivity Commission to curb excessive salaries.

Infrastructure Australia is investigating a new round of reforms to public-private partnerships to make it cheaper for business to bid on projects and boost competition.

The Australian sharemarket has posted its best quarterly performance since 1987, amid confidence that the global economy is on the mend thanks to massive government stimulus measures strengthening the banking system and encouraging investors to buy stocks.

Shoppers flocked back to stores in August, strengthening the case for the Reserve Bank of Australia to lift interest rates by the end of the year, but there is uncertainty over the housing market as the government scales back its grants to first-home buyers from today.

Page 3: Investor complaints about managed investments almost doubled in the year to June and disputes involving margin loans were up by close to 420 per cent, the Financial Ombudsman Service has reported.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has scored a major windfall, with an Australian court validating a $1.5 billion capital loss News claimed as part of its 2005 global restructure that the Australian Taxation Office claimed was a tax avoidance scheme.

Page 5: Timbercorp liquidator KordaMentha has struck a last-minute, near-$350 million deal with US-based timber investment management organisation Global Forest Partners for the sale of the failed group's forestry assets.

Rio Tinto's Alcan Alumina arm has beaten a $47.5 million tax bill it challenged in the High Court.

Page 15: Babcock & Brown Infrastructure has knocked back a rescue proposal supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland complaining it did little more than buy time to address the fund's $1.2 billion of unsecured debt.

Telstra's grand plan to turn itself into a broad-based media and advertising company has suffered a set-back, with dwindling ad revenue and copy sales forcing it to axe The Trading Post newspaper.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Massive government borrowing programs threaten to choke a still-fragile global economic recovery by pushing interest rates higher and reducing available credit for the private sector, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

The nation's second largest share trading platform, the National Stock Exchange, is preparing to list dozens of frozen mortgage and property funds -- holding hundreds of millions of dollars -- in a bid to return funds to desperate investors.

Page 4: Shareholders have welcomed proposed new powers to sack board members who approve excessive, multi-million dollar salaries, while supporting the rejection of a cap on executive pay.

Consumer and small business disputes with Australia's financial institutions spiked by 33 per cent in 2008-09 as the relationship frayed amid the global financial crisis and a series of extreme weather events, the Financial Ombudsman Service has found.

The opposition front bench has backed Malcolm Turnbull's plan to negotiate on the Rudd government's emissions trading scheme, after the opposition leader told rebel MPs they were effectively advocating that the coalition ''abandon'' thousands of workers.

Page 5: Australia's economic recovery is gathering strength, with consumers back in the stores, bidding up house prices and renovating their homes.

Qantas Airways represented just one in five flights operating to and from Australia in July as its international market share dropped to a historic low of less than half the level enjoyed 15 years ago.

Anna Bligh has taken off the gloves with her Labor cousins south of the border, launching a bare-knuckled attack on the NSW government for challenging the carve-up of the GST.

Page 6: More than 16 boatpeople a day sought refuge in Australia last month in the biggest surge in arrivals since the start of the decade, forcing Canberra to consider transfers from Christmas Island to Darwin to accommodate the rush.

Just four days after unveiling the name of its new Vegemite spin-off, iSnack2.0 is toast -- with Kraft killing off the brand in the wake of a storm of protest over its tampering with a national icon.

Page 8: Not one parent who chronically fails to send their child to school has had their welfare payments suspended under a federal government trial aimed at lifting woeful school attendance in the Northern Territory.

Tenders for Cubbie station closed yesterday, with overseas bidders reportedly showing keen interest in the biggest irrigation property ever offered for sale in Australia.

Business: Proposals by the Productivity Commission to strengthen shareholder powers -- including giving investors the muscle to sack an entire board if it twice ignores concerns about executive pay -- divided corporate Australia yesterday.

The Australian Securities Exchange will seek compensation for the loss of its market supervision role.

Billionaire miner Andrew Forrest's plans to rapidly expand his West Australian iron ore operations suffered a setback when his company, Fortescue Metals Group, failed to convince Chinese banks to lend it up to $US6 billion ($6.69bn) on acceptable terms.

A small but powerful group of Melbourne establishment figures, including ANZ Bank chairman Charles Goode, has scuttled a proposal to create one of the world's top business schools.

China's cabinet, which has long warned it aims to curb excess capacity in key industrial sectors, has banned the construction of new aluminium smelters for three years.

Woolworth's foray into the hardware market could wipe off as much as $2 per share in value for investors, according to Merrill Lynch retail analyst David Errington.

Timbercorp's forestry assets have been sold for about $345 million to Australian Bluegum Plantations, a wholly owned subsidiary of US timber investment fund Global Forest Partners (GFP).

Boutique fund manager Sirius has slammed the upcoming float of department store group Myer as overpriced and an opportunistic attempt to cash in on the surging share price of rival retailer David Jones.

A top banking regulator in China says Citigroup should ''absolutely'' expand its operations in the country, suggesting that Chinese regulators are untroubled by the US government's big stake in the bank.

The fate of CIT Group is hanging in the balance as the large commercial lender readies a plan that will likely hand control of the company to its bondholders.

The pace of lay-offs in the US did not slow much in September, raising questions about the strength of the recovery.

The economy may be on the mend but about 38,000 small to medium-sized firms face a high risk of financial distress this year, a survey has found.

The Australian sharemarket had posted its biggest quarterly gain in 22 years at the close of trade yesterday.

Cazaly Resources was punished by the market yesterday after a trading halt on its stock was lifted following news it had lost its battle to gain control of one of Rio Tinto's iron ore interests in Western Australia.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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