13/10/2009 - 06:55

Today's Business Headlines

13/10/2009 - 06:55

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FMG decides not to tap China for cash; Mirvac bid to get whole of MREIT; Report reveal hoarding plans to avert gas crisis; Skills shortage risk to recovery; Banks' $8bn handout as outlook lifts

FMG decides not to tap China for cash
In a rapid about-face, Fortescue Metals has said it is likely to fund a $US2 billion-plus expansion to iron ore production primarily from internal cash flows rather than seeking a $US6 billion debt deal with Chinese lenders. Sydney Morning Herald

Mirvac bid to get whole of MREIT
Property group Mirvac is moving to take full ownership of its listed associate, Mirvac Real Estate Investment Trust (MREIT), through a $338 million cash and scrip merger proposal. Daily Telegraph

Report reveal hoarding plans to avert gas crisis
Massive diesel storage tanks could be built and old gas reservoirs reopened to hoard emergency supplies to help WA cope with a disastrous loss of gas from the North West, under a long-awaited review of the state's energy security. The West

Skills shortage risk to recovery
The federal government is under pressure to overhaul its skilled immigration program to address a looming shortage of workers for hundreds of billions of dollars of planned resources projects critical to the national economic recovery. The Fin Review

Banks' $8bn handout as outlook lifts
The improving economic outlook could see the nation's big four banks start to write back up to $8 billion in bad-debt provisions next year, providing scope for a round of special handouts to shareholders. The Australian

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 4: Massive diesel storage tanks could be built and old gas reservoirs reopened to hoard emergency supplies to help WA cope with a disastrous loss of gas from the North West, under a long-awaited review of the state's energy security.

It's 497 days since the Varanus Island gas explosion and West Australians are yet to be told the cause and if it could have been avoided.

Page 9: Fisheries Minister Norman Moore is embroiled in another fishing row after the chairman of the industry's peak body claimed yesterday he was told he was being dumped via an answering machine message left at his home by the minister's chief-of-staff.

Page 12: Kimberley mud crabs could soon be bred commercially in Wyndham destined for the restaurants of Hong Kong.

Page 13: Demand for nursing and teaching courses is up as the number of applications to study at WA universities next year has increased across the board.

Page 16: WA wine producers are casting economic pessimism aside with some charging nearly $500 a bottle as the latest release wines start to hit shop shelves.

Page 17: The federal government looked at banning people from accessing their superannuation until they turned 67 in a move that would have saved Australia billions of dollars and forced thousands back into the workforce.

Business: Fortescue Metals Group said internal cash flow was strong enough to fund the much-hyped expansion of its Pilbara iron ore business, less than two months after telling investors it would need a $US6 billion ($6.7 billion) Chinese debt package to achieve its goal.

Graeme Rowley says Fortescue Metals Group's biggest strength is its "speed and agility to move flexibly" in changing conditions.

Former Regis Resources managing director David Walker, who was dumped in May after a shareholder uprising, is suing Newmont Mining and Regis' new management team for at least $9.5 million.

WA marine safety technology group Mobilarm is making a second bid at a sharemarket float to raise $6 million.

The chances of a truce on the Troy Resources boardroom collapsed lat night after dissident director John Jones claimed it was only his intervention that saved the $168 million WA gold miner from pursuing two "potentially disastrous and ill-considered financial transactions".

Telstra's attempt to delay the separation of its wholesale and retail networks looks doomed, with the Greens yesterday rejecting pleas for support from the telecommunications giant.

Fremantle inventor Alan Burns, who designed the technology that Carnegie Wave Energy hopes to ride to commercial success, made a quiet exit from public company life yesterday with his retirement from the renewable energy hopeful.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Tony D'Aloisio has warned credit ratings agencies, auditors and sharemarket analysts that stricter rules might be needed to ensure they are independent as part of the response to the failures exposed by the global financial crisis.

The federal government is under pressure to overhaul its skilled immigration program to address a looming shortage of workers for hundreds of billions of dollars of planned resources projects critical to the national economic recovery.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has declared other spending commitments might be pared back or axed in order to sustain the federal government's fiscal stimulus measures, in a sign that Labor is reviewing its budget settings as the economy recovers.

Wall Street investment bank Morgan Stanley is planning to join the rush of initial public offerings as stockmarkets rebound, floating up to $750 million in Australian property assets.

Page 3: A stand-off between federal and state governments over water infrastructure projects has angered the irrigation industry and farmers, who warn that the delays in finalising $3.7 billion in projects are costing their regions thousands of jobs.

Page 4: Households and businesses have lifted their borrowing in a sign that low interest rates, government incentives and mounting confidence in the recovery is fuelling spending and investment.

Page 6: Financial gatekeepers such as credit ratings agencies and analysts should ensure they are independent or risk greater regulations, as happened with auditors, said Ian Ramsay, who headed the last government review of auditor independence.

Page 7: Some 440 people who sank $28 million into Great Southern's 2008 grape project are unlikely to see any of their money again after the vines were permanently damaged because there was not money for water, and receiver McGrathNicol said the project would have to be wound up.

Page 8: Small businesses have jumped at the federal government's tax relief package aimed at supporting them through the worst of the downturn, figures from the Australian Taxation Office show.

Page 9: Australia's militant building union has changed strategic tack by opening talks with a key employer group and calling for an end to "ideological warfare" in the industry.

Page 15: Fortescue Metals Group is aiming to internally fund the majority of the expansion of its Chichester Ranges project in Western Australia, after talks for up to $US6 billion ($6.6 billion) in debt funding from China collapsed a fortnight ago.

There is growing speculation that BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are in talks with Indian steel makers about supply contracts in what would be the first long-term iron ore supply deal between one of the two big mining houses and a customer on the subcontinent.

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: Storm Financial co-founder Julie Cassimatis defied legal and financial opinion when she transferred $2 million from the company to the personal bank account she shared with her husband and co-founder, Emmanuel Cassimatis, as the company was falling apart in December.

Hip-pocket concerns about the cost of emissions trading for households and small business have emerged as key battlegrounds between Labor and the Coalition as both sides prepare for high stakes negotiations that could begin as early as next week.

Page 2: The Nobel Peace Prize was discredited if Barack Obama could be nominated for the award after just 11 days in office and win it nine months later, former foreign minister Alexander Downer said yesterday.

Page 3: Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has vowed to go on a health kick after collapsing with chest pains on Sunday night.

Page 4: Australians' anxiety about climate change is falling substantially, even as the issue dominates political debate in Canberra.

Unions will campaign to have quotas of mature-age workers introduced on major government building projects, demanding Labor takes urgent action to address the nation's "demographic time bomb".

Page 5: Wayne Swan has denied there is a split between Treasury and the increasingly optimistic Reserve Bank, claiming the two organisations had always engaged in "healthy debate".

In his time of trial, Malcolm Turnbull has found religion. He keeps invoking the creator, Menzies. And he keeps reciting the basic articles of the Liberal faith.

Page 6: Industrial giant James Hardie has again moved to share liability for illnesses caused by its deadly asbestos products, launching legal action in Queensland against former partner CSR.

Coca-Cola Amatil chief executive Terry Davis is going for his third gold medal at the World Masters Games rowing championships in Sydney today after winning gold over the past two days.

Page 9: The company behind the $1 billion, 79-storey Vision tower project in Brisbane -- once touted by Wayne Swan as a candidate for "Rudd Bank" funding -- is being sued by the city's council for almost $500,000 in unpaid rates.

Business: The improving economic outlook could see the nation's bg four banks start to write back up to $8 billion in bad-debt provisions next year, providing scope for a round of special handouts to shareholders.

Fairfax Media directors will meet in New Zealand today to decide on their future leader, with former Woolworths boss Roger Corbett likely to be anointed as the new chairman.

Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group has been forced to change its much-touted Pilbara expansion strategy after failing to strike a $US6 billion ($6.6bn) funding deal with Chinese banks.

The failure of economists to anticipate the global crisis or engender confidence in their predictions about its aftermath has led to a new cynicism in European boardrooms, where economic forecasts are being rebranded as "nowcasts".

The Foreign Investment Review Board has given its first approval for a Chinese state-owned purchase of a stake in a listed Australian miner since just after the July arrest of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.

BHP Billiton is believed to be in talks to buy iron ore junior United Minerals for about $220 million.

Property group Mirvac is moving to take full ownership of its listed associate, Mirvac Real Estate Investment Trust (MREIT), through a $338 million cash and scrip merger proposal.

Crown's shares rose sharply yesterday as the market awaited confirmation that James Packer had increased his holding above 40 per cent by buying an extra 3 per cent for $203 million.

A secret deal to give 10 million shares to two mining executives in a potentially lucrative takeover was not included in a bidder's statement to shareholders, the Federal Court heard yesterday.

Outgoing surprising strength in economic data should be enough to prompt policy-makers to revise up their economic forecasts, according to Reserve Bank of Australia board member Warwick McKibbin.

Now may be the short-lived sweet spot for investing in initial public offerings. IPOs last week had their biggest haul of the year, with more than $US10 billion ($11.1bn) raised, accounting for more than half of 2009's $US18bn total.

Since confronting fears of complete calamity back in early March, stock markets around the world have recovered smartly.

Chinese leaders are concerned that their nation's enormous economic expansion is becoming an excuse for foreign suppliers to inflate commodity costs. So they hope to use their three futures exchanges to fight back.

The Australian sharemarket closed in negative territory, losing early momentum on weaker banking stocks and a reduction in offshore investment fund flows.

Babcock & Brown Infrastructure says an independent expert has deemed its $1.8 billion recapitalisation plan fair and reasonable for its stapled security holders.

 

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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