08/10/2009 - 06:48

Today's Business Headlines

08/10/2009 - 06:48

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RBA's interest rate increase inspires world markets; Iron ore exports on the rise; NZ taxman chases Westpac for $825m; Alcoa to keep up competition pressure; Labor backflip on GST relief

Today's Business Headlines

RBA's interest rate increase inspires world markets
The Reserve Bank's move on interest rates has made a powerful impression on big economies including the US, helping spark a rally on world sharemarkets. The Courier-Mail

Iron ore exports on the rise
Exports of iron ore from one of the Pilbara's main ports rose a little last month and analysts predict prices will follow suit as demand fuelled by China's quick recovery surprises on the upside. The Australian

NZ taxman chases Westpac for $825m
Westpac is facing a bill of as much as $825 million in back taxes and penalties as a consequence of the bank's battle with the New Zealand tax authorities over a series of complex financial deals going back to 1998. Sydney Morning Herald

Alcoa to keep up competition pressure
WA's biggest energy user, Alcoa, will mark the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline today by demanding that governments ensure more competition within the state's domestic gas market. The West

Labor backflip on GST relief
The Rudd government has quietly dumped a promise to simplify goods and services tax paperwork for 1.4 million small businesses after a review warned there would be a cost to revenue and few cuts in red tape. The Fin Review

 

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Malcolm Turnbull's teetering leadership is in terminal decline, with plans afoot to replace him as Liberal leader with Joe Hockey amid the prospect of an unwelcome by-election for the Victorian seat held by Peter Costello.

Page 3: The row over executive salaries has flared again, with figures showing that the head of Western Power pocketed a pay rise of almost $60,000 last year.

Page 4: Some within the Liberal Party never really believed Peter Costello was going to quit federal politics, but now it's a done deal.

Page 6: Treasurer Wayne Swan has warned the nation's big banks there is no justification for lifting interest rates more than the 0.25 percentage point increase in the official rate.

Page 7: Victims of the latest bank card scam could wait three weeks for refunds as financial institutions investigate the thefts.

Page 11: Plans to axe frontline metal health jobs in the Fremantle district would put lives at risk, the state government has been warned.

Business: WA's biggest energy user, Alcoa, will mark the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline today by demanding that governments ensure more competition within the state's domestic gas market.

Tony Sage is poised to hand control of a cashed-up International Goldfields to colourful Romanian-born entrepreneur Frank Timis under a $152 million scrip deal over a promising oil and gas block in Kazakhstan.

The so-called "two strikes" plan that aims to force boards to reform executive pay structures could destabilise companies and "disempower" shareholders, the Business Council warns.

WA's newest credit union has urged the federal government to recognise the importance of non-bank lenders, warning any changes to legislation that further favour the big banks could have disastrous consequences for consumers.

Internet service provider iiNet has launched its counterattack in the movie industry's landmark case over illegal downloads, calling the movie studio's claims of tens of thousands of copyright infringements over its network "highly exaggerated" and "out of kilter".

BHP Billiton is scrambling to assess the time it will take to repair damage caused by a runaway ore skip inside the 500-metre deep main haulage shaft at its Olympic Dam project in South Australia, the country's biggest underground mine.

Westpac is facing a bill of as much as $825 million in back taxes and penalties as a consequence of the bank's battle with the New Zealand tax authorities over a series of complex financial deals going back to 1998.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: The Rudd government has quietly dumped a promise to simplify goods and services tax paperwork for 1.4 million small businesses after a review warned there would be a cost to revenue and few cuts in red tape.

The Rudd government is under growing pressure to adjust its massive fiscal stimulus package as leading economists lent weight to opposition calls for the measures to be scaled back after the Reserve Bank of Australia upgraded the growth outlook for next year.

Defensive hoarding of cash by fund managers has created a pool of about $70 billion that investors hope will be directed towards the sharemarket, underpinning its recent surge and helping to propel shares higher.

Page 3: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has threatened to pursue aggressively any outstanding loans to investors in failed agribusiness scheme Great Southern, and that borrowers who stopped payments could lose their homes.

Page 5: The approval of the $43 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project and a better than expected economic outlook in China have combined to wipe out forecasts of a recession in Western Australia this year.

Page 6: First-home buyers retreating from the property market have pushed down the number of home loans being issued, but investors are returning in droves.

Page 7: Major banks have held off raising variable mortgage rates for another day, with a stand-off persisting as Treasurer Wayne Swan warned lenders against lifting rates by more than the Reserve Bank's 0.25 percentage point rise on Tuesday.

Page 9: One of the two mooted shareholder class actions against OZ Minerals was launched in the Federal Court yesterday, claiming damages for a failure last year to promptly disclose to the market a substantial debt requiring refinancing and making misleading and deceptive statements.

Page 13: BHP Billiton's production capacity at the Olympic Dam copper, gold and uranium mine in South Australia could be significantly affected following a mechanical failure at the operation.

China's Baosteel has been asked to resubmit its Foreign Investment Review Board application to become a cornerstone shareholder in Aquila Resources, the first strategic investment by China's largest steel maker in a public company.

Page 14: Telstra's institutional shareholders have joined retail investors in condemning the federal government's moves to break the company up under its controversial overhaul of telecoms legislation.

GrainCorp's $100 million institutional placement is expected to close at a near 10 per cent premium to the bottom of the bookbuild range after strong demand from local and international institutions.

Page 16: The competition regulator has cleared the path for further consolidation in the mortgage market after it approved National Australia Bank's $385 million acquisition of Challenger Financial Services Group's mortgage business.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Reserve Bank's rate rise has driven the world gold price to a record high and sparked a powerful $250 billion-plus sharemarket rally on both sides of the Pacific as investors bet on a return of the resources boom.

Page 2: Despite a hammering in the Asian media over student safety, and fears for the higher education sector's international reputation, Australia's elite universities have consolidated their place in the global rankings.

Page 4: A senate inquiry into evidence given by former public servant Godwin Grech looks set to fizzle out, with the star witness unlikely to appear.

Page 5: Housing construction is expected to deliver new momentum to the economic recovery over coming months, with new home buyers and developers raising more finance.

The Reserve Bank is lifting interest rates mainly because China's stunning economic rebound is set to fuel Australian mining investment and exports. And house prices are bubbling up.

The Henry tax review is being pushed to lower company and employment taxes to make Australia a viable choice for foreign companies wanting to set up business here.

If there is one thing Michael Parkinson learned during his many interviews with prominent Australians, it is this: do not pick a fight with Kerry Packer.

Bloated bureaucracies are to blame for the rot in the national healthcare system, sucking up nearly half of the total spending on salaries and yet damaging morale and impeding efficient operations.

Page 6: The Black Saturday royal commission has been told of a litany of fire-fighting mistakes, omissions, poor communications and failures during the firestorm that devastated the Victorian town of Marysville, killing 40 people.

Business: The Reserve Bank's interest rate rise triggered a $266 billion share rally in Australia and the US yesterday, sent the Australian dollar through US89c and pushed gold to record levels as a new wave of confidence swept financial markets.

Two years after being convicted in one of Australia's biggest market-rigging cases, Dean Scook and Jeffrey Braysich are back in business.

The proposed merger between Melbourne Business School and Melbourne University's faculty of economics and commerce was "seriously flawed" and conflicted with the business community's expectations of how donated funds would be used, according to a leaked document.

BHP Billiton's giant Olympic Dam underground mine in South Australia could be running at less than half capacity for months after a mechanical failure sent a full load of ore plummeting to the bottom of its 800m-deep main shaft.

Exports of iron ore from one of the Pilbara's main ports rose a little last month and analysts predict prices will follow suit as demand fuelled by China's quick recovery surprises on the upside.

Indian interest in Australian resources is intensifying, with rival bids for Perth-based coke producer and coal explorer Rocklands Richfield.

Rio Tinto has signed its first joint venture in China since the detention of Shanghai-based executive Stern Hu and three other employees in July.

The federal and ACT governments are at loggerheads over a proposal to ban the Woolworths, Coles and IGA supermarket chains from opening stores at certain Canberra sites.

Telstra shareholders have railed against the government's plans to split the telco giant, describing the action as a betrayal of trust, vindictive and a monumental swindle.

Graeme Samuel, hailing early signs of a return of competition to the banking sector, has waved through the National Australia Bank's $385 million buyout of Challenger Financial's mortgage management business.

Several Asian central banks appeared to intervene in the foreign exchange market to curb the rise of their currencies, reflecting an effort to keep exporters competitive as the US dollar swoons.

Coming on the heels of troubles in its 787 Dreamliner program, Boeing says it would record a $US1 billion ($1.12bn) charge on its 747-8 jet and delayed the jumbo plane's first flight until early next year.

The Australian sharemarket has closed strongly in the black, driven by gold stocks after the metal's price surged to a record high early yesterday.

Turnover in Australian financial markets plummeted 16.8 per cent last financial year to $96 trillion -- the first decline in nine years -- after the global financial crisis caused a significant upheaval in market conditions.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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