Today's Business Headlines

02/10/2009 - 06:50

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China manufacturing on road to recovery; ATO ramps up audits of wealthy; PearlStreet board rejects competing higher offer; IMF says Australia on way to recovery; Macquarie on buying spree

Today's Business Headlines

China manufacturing on road to recovery
A key measure of nationwide manufacturing activity in China rose to its highest level in 17 months in September, boosting hopes that economic recovery will be sustained. The Australian

ATO ramps up audits of wealthy
Companies and wealthy individuals are gearing up for a big increase in disputes with the Australian Taxation Office, as it dramatically ramps up its use of data-matching and access powers to crack down on tax evasion. The Fin Review

PearlStreet board rejects competing higher offer
The battle for control of PearlStreet is heating up after the WA industrial services testing group yesterday rejected a $42.1 million takeover bid, just days after recommending that shareholders accept a lower, partial takeover bid. The West

IMF says Australia on way to recovery
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its forecasts for economic growth in Australia and predicted the unemployment rate will peak at 7 per cent next year. Daily Telegraph

Macquarie on buying spree
Macquarie Bank has extended its opportunistic grab for assets, acquiring a US investment bank and boosting its domestic car lease business by more than a third through the acquisition of $1 billion in leases and loans from Ford Motor Credit. The Australian

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The death toll from a massive earthquake in Indonesia is expected to climb into the thousands as rescue workers dug with their bare hands to reach those trapped under rubble.

Page 4: Westralia Airports Corporation's long overdue expansion plans for the much maligned and overcrowded Perth Airport were given the green light yesterday with the approval for $882 million in financing to fund new terminals and significant upgrades.

The global recession is over and Australia will lead the world to recovery, the International Monetary Fund has declared, but it will be a jobless rebound in economic activity.

Page 5: Malcolm Turnbull may have only three weeks left as opposition leader after indicating yesterday he will resign if he fails to win Liberal party room support to negotiate an amended passage of Labor's emissions trading scheme.

Page 11: Genetically modified technology is already a reality for WA farmers as the harvest of the first commercial-sized trial is a matter of weeks away.

Page 19: WA's biggest superannuation fund GESB yesterday faced accusations of feathering the nest of its senior executives after it emerged that its chairman, Phil Harvey, was awarded a 50 per cent pay rise last year.

Business: The battle for control of PearlStreet is heating up after the WA industrial services testing group yesterday rejected a $42.1 million takeover bid, just days after recommending that shareholders accept a lower, partial takeover bid.

Eric Streitberg is set to emerge with control of Canning Basin explorer Buru Energy after all, less than four months after his $1.3 million plan to privatise the oil and gas junior failed.

A year after Colin Barnett was elected premier and lifted a ban on uranium mining in WA, his son has joined the yellowcake rush by striking a $2 million deal to explore for nuclear fuel near Meekatharra.

Integra Mining has set the ball rolling on a major capital raising to bring its Randalls gold project east of Kalgoorlie into production next year.

Patersons Securities executive chairman Michael Manford says the worst of the global sharemarket rout is over, with the firm poised to look to Asia for growth in the year ahead after the economic downturn drove it to a $389,000 loss for the year to June 30.

Chinese commodity stockpile replenishment has been a key driver for base metal prices since the start of the year, but in recent weeks prices have been tracking sideways and some key indicators are giving investors the jitters.

The mine that will single-handedly reverse the long-term decline in Australia's gold production, Newmont's $3.5 billion Boddington mine in the Darling Ranges south-east of Perth, has poured its first gold.

Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ralph Norris could receive as much as $7.9 million in shares in the group as part of a revamped long-term incentive scheme.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Companies and wealthy individuals are gearing up for a big increase in disputes with the Australian Taxation Office, as it dramatically ramps up its use of data-matching and access powers to crack down on tax evasion.

Investors who have lost up to $30 million in a scam run by a Sydney solicitor are being told they will have no recourse to the Fidelity Fund established by the NSW Law Society to protect clients against trust account fraud.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has put his leadership authority on the line over his push to negotiate an emission trading deal, as he draws new support from industry groups such as coalmining, natural gas and aluminium.

Page 3: Despite a more optimistic assessment by the International Monetary Fund of Australia's economic prospects, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan warned that the economy was still too heavily dependent on the government's fiscal stimulus to begin withdrawing it.

Eighteen former St George bankers are expected to launch legal action against the bank, claiming their redundancy payouts fell short after the bank merged with Westpac Banking Corp last year, in a dispute that could cost the bank millions of dollars.

Page 5: The head of the Rudd government's $43 billion broadband project has cautioned against hopes that customers would pay one price for internet access regardless of their location, sparking a political fight last night.

Page 7: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will confront heated protests in the West Australian tourist centre of Broome tonight amid growing anger over the federal government's support for a plan to build a $30 billion gas plant about 60 kilometres north of the town.

Page 41: Opes Prime creditors are likely to have a dividend cheque in their hand by Christmas, within two years of the company's collapse, but the creditors of Lehman Brothers Australia are facing a much longer wait before they see any money.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Several thousand Indonesians are feared dead after a major earthquake struck the west Sumatran city of Padang and nearby towns, levelling high-rise buildings and generating dozens of fires.

Rebel Liberal backbenchers were unmoved in their implacable opposition to the government's emissions trading scheme last night, despite their leader Malcolm Turnbull putting his leadership on the line to force his party to back him on the issue.

Page 6: Malcolm Turnbull is on a collision course with his own back bench after staking his leadership on a demand that they back his climate change strategy. Several MPs immediately refused to do so.

Turnbull has not one but two looming showdowns with his partyroom. Yesterday he staked his leadership on the first, which is the one he has the best chance of winning.

A second wave of swine flu can be expected as early as February, months earlier than seasonal flu would normally strike, if infections reflect the pattern seen in the US.

Page 8: Savers rather than wage earners can expect the biggest tax concessions from the Rudd government's tax review, with Treasury secretary Ken Henry declaring that the global financial crisis showed Australia needed to become more self-reliant on its own savings.

The International Monetary Fund has warned central banks against lifting interest rates and governments against winding down their stimulus spending until it is clear the economic recovery is secure.

Australians have the highest degree of support for their own country out of 33 nationalities polled in a survey published in The Economist.

Page 10: Australia's academics are disillusioned by corporate management cultures at universities, threatening to drive many away from the profession and worsen a looming staff shortage as thousands of them approach retirement.

Business: Macquarie Bank has extended its opportunistic grab for assets, acquiring a US investment bank and boosting its domestic car lease business by more than a third through the acquisition of $1 billion in leases and loans from Ford Motor Credit.

The "old boys" network deemed to dominate the boards of corporate Australia could be busted open if the Rudd government accepts a recommendation by the Productivity Commission to end the so-called no-vacancy rule, which allows boards to limit new nominations to themselves.

A key measure of nationwide manufacturing activity in China rose to its highest level in 17 months in September, boosting hopes that economic recovery will be sustained.

Two of Rio Tinto's giant growth projects under development have had contrasting fortunes, with unrest in Guinea set to further hamper the $US6 billion-plus ($6.8bn) Simandou iron ore project, while Mongolia is reportedly ready to sanction the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project next week.

Shareholders of PearlStreet yesterday found themselves in the position of being offered a choice of the money or the box -- take either a $42 million cash offer from Campbell Brothers or stay in for the ride with a recapitalisation proposal from the private equity group Catalyst.

Fast food giant Domino's Pizza Enterprises plans to expand its footprint in the "under-penetrated" cities of Sydney and Melbourne by opening more franchises.

Buoyed by continued local and international demand, BlueScope Steel will ramp up its Port Kembla steelworks to full capacity this quarter after running it at a reduced rate for most of the year.

The National Broadband Network Company is talking to telcos about buying infrastructure to give the government's $43 billion project a leg up.

Timbercorp investors are furious that they have to give Commonwealth Bank $25 million out of their share of proceeds from the sale of the forestry assets to repay the company's loans.

Westpac has dismissed industry data showing the bank suffered a big reversal in home lending for the month of August, while conceding that mortgage minnows ANZ and National Australia Bank have lifted their games.

The Australian Securities Exchange yesterday suspended the shares of 23 companies after they failed to lodge their annual accounts for 2008-09 by the September 30 deadline.

The rosy glow around liquefied natural gas projects resulting from the go-ahead of the $43 billion Gorgon gasfield development in Australia is reflecting on Woodside Petroleum.

The federal government's recently announced plans to give ASIC control of real-time market surveillance for the Australian marketplace seems to have taken market participants by surprise.

The Australian dollar closed higher yesterday after hitting a 13-month high as a rise in resource prices lifted the commodities-driven currency.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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