21/02/2012 - 06:54

Today's Business Headlines

21/02/2012 - 06:54

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PM resists calls to confront Rudd – The Fin; Harbour plan hits snag as locals refuse to sell land – The West; Aussies 'can gain from rise of yuan' – The Aus; Anger grows at WA landfill levy – The Fin; Steelmaker issues warning – The West

Today's Business Headlines

PM resists calls to confront Rudd

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is dismissing calls to bring on a leadership fights with Kevin Rudd as her supporters warn undecided MPs that a return to the former leader would further depress Labor's stock with voters. The Fin

Harbour plan hits snag as locals refuse to sell land

BHP Billiton's plan to build a multi million-dollar tugboat pen at the entrance to Port Hedland harbour have been stalled by locals who rejected the mining giant's offers to buy their properties. The West

Aussies 'can gain from rise of yuan'

ANZ Banking Group chief executive Mike Smith says moves by the Chinese government to use the renminbi as the core tool for trade in the next five years could see it become the trading currency of the region, providing a ‘‘massive opportunity for Australia’’. The Aus

Anger grows at WA landfill levy

A boycott against an unpopular landfill recycling levy in West Australia has expanded to include two more companies and a Perth council. The Fin

Steelmaker issues warning

Bluescope Steel has warned that the mining boom will not last forever and that struggling manufacturing companies will again be needed when it ends. The West

 

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN:

Page 3: The City of Perth plans to blanket city streets with in-ground parking sensors that automatically detect “overstayers” after a trial found the devices helped turn over bays and increase income.

Page 4: Parents are likely to be spared rises in private school fees despite a long-awaited review into school funding that has recommended that their capacity to pay for their children's education should be taken into account when carving up taxpayer spending on schools.

Page 9: Julia Gillard is resisting internal pressure to strike back at Kevin Rudd, indicating he will have to formally declare his comeback intentions before she allows a leadership spill.

Page 14: BHP Billiton's plan to build a multi million-dollar tugboat pen at the entrance to Port Hedland harbour have been stalled by locals who rejected the mining giant's offers to buy their properties.

Page 17: One in every four workers in WA, or nearly 250,000 people, have no holiday or sickness entitlements, a national enquiry was told at a hearing in Perth yesterday.

Business: Bluescope Steel has warned that the mining boom will not last forever and that struggling manufacturing companies will again be needed when it ends.

Amcom Telecommunications is in record territory after more than doubling its interim dividend after producing another strong profit.

Shares in Seven Group Holdings breached a six-month high yesterday as the company agreed to a $230 million deal to quit a five-year investment in broadband.

Packaging maker Amcor says its business in China is growing faster than the Chinese economy, and that other emerging markets in Asia are growing strongly.

The mining union has warned Rio Tinto that train drivers will be in a legal strike period in 2014 when it moves to a system of driverless locomotives.

Contractors continue to reap the rewards of the LNG industry's rapid expansion, with Thiess and Macmahon Holdings winning work worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The country's biggest automotive dealership network remains on the lookout for acquisitions, after last year's buying spree helped it to a record operating profit for the six months to December 31.

Drilling products supplier Imdex has powered to an 88 per cent interim profit hike in which a surge in minerals business offset a loss in oil and gas.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW:

Page 1: Prime Minister Julia Gillard is dismissing calls to bring on a leadership fights with Kevin Rudd as her supporters warn undecided MPs that a return to the former leader would further depress Labor's stock with voters.

The Coalition plans to portray the first attempt at a major overhaul of school funding in 40 years as a Labor attack on middle Australia, rejecting recommendations from the Gonski review before they have been adopted by the federal government or discussed broadly.

Bluescope Steel has turned to exporting prefabricated steel from China to Africa to capitalise on the mining boom there and reinvent a business model that is under pressure from high labour costs, a strong Australian dollar and poor demand at its loss making domestic operations.

Page 3: ANZ chief executive Mike Smith has warned that there is no future for a low-value manufacturing industry in Australia, saying that there has been a fundamental structural shift in the economy.

Page 4: Industrial relations could emerge as an important policy divide between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd in Labor's undeclared leadership war.

Page 5: Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson yesterday urged the government not to be distracted by internal turmoil given there were vital reforms needed and continuing threats to the economy.

Page 6: The country's industrial relations system needs to be radically overhauled, including measures to reduce the cost to business from unfair dismissal claims, an employer group argues.

Labor will introduce an extraordinary income tax holiday for the local shipping industry as part of a federal government push to reduce the number of cheaper foreign ships operating on the coast.

A boycott against an unpopular landfill recycling levy in West Australia has expanded to include two more companies and a Perth council.

Page 18: Commonwealth Bank of Australia executive Ian Saines has warned that “permanently” higher bank funding costs are forcing the bank to change its business lending model as blue chip companies borrow cheaper directly from capital markets.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has warned customers that further interest rate rises could be on the cards as profits come under pressure from higher funding costs.

Page 37: Emerging iron ore miner Brockman Resources is in talks with Chinese and Japanese steel mills to help fund its $1.9 billion Marillana project in the Pilbara and is prepared to back a breakaway QR National rail line to get its ore to port.

Page 39: Optus will fork out as much as $280 million to acquire broadband provider vividwireless from Kerry Stokes' Seven Group Holdings, in a grab for spectrum needed for super-fast mobile services.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN:

Page 1: The Gillard government’s commitment to overhaul school funding was thrown into doubt yesterday after Julia Gillard described the independent Gonski review only as ‘‘a good insight’’ and failed to endorse its approach.

Julia Gillard has refused to be baited into a Labor leadership ballot, insisting she has strong caucus support and placing the onus for any spill on Kevin Rudd.

Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd met before Christmas to discuss the geopolitical challenge of our age — how to manage a rising China — but both are adamant neither the parlous state of federal Labor nor the Foreign Minister’s leadership ambitions featured in the discussions.

Page 2: Employers have warned that the appointment of union officials to Fair Work Australia is eroding confidence in the workplace umpire, as former ACTU official and judge Iain Ross firmed as favourite to be the tribunal’s president.

ANZ Banking Group chief executive Mike Smith says moves by the Chinese government to use the renminbi as the core tool for trade in the next five years could see it become the trading currency of the region, providing a ‘‘massive opportunity for Australia’’.

Page 4: The myriad inefficient and complicated systems for school funding that differ from state to state would be replaced by a single payment under the key recommendation of the Gonski review.

Page 6: Miners expect that the minerals resource rent tax — the watered-down version of Kevin Rudd’s super profits tax — will not be revisited should the Foreign Minister topple Julia Gillard.

Page 11: Confidence in the ability of Greek politicians to keep their promises is so l ow that eurozone finance ministers are likely to demand a special protected account be set up to receive funds from the second bailout they aimed to reach agreement on last night.

Business: The corporate regulator will open its internal enforcement processes to unprecedented public scrutiny in a bid to increase transparency, but has pulled back on its ambitions to make more extensive comments on sensitive investigations.

Bluescope Steel is edging its way back to profitability, but still suffered a $530 million net loss after tax in the December half-year due to last year's drastic financial and operational restructuring in response to the strong dollar, high raw material costs and sluggish demand.

The Seven Media Group’s decision to offload its wireless broadband operation Vividwireless to Optus is expected to give the Singapore-owned telecommunications giant a major advantage over Telstra in the fight for a share of the emerging 4G wireless broadband market.

Private equity firm TPG Capital has resubmitted its $3 a share offer for surfwear brand Billabong after dropping a condition that the target company not sell off a stake in accessories brand Nixon.

Supermarkets and the petrol industry are in the crosshairs of new competition watchdog chairman Rod Sims, who also flagged a criminal cartel case to ‘‘get the message across’’ to unschooled businessmen that cartel activity is illegal.

Engineering and property services company UGL has maintained its full-year guidance, despite a fall in first-half profit and operating cashflow.

Property group Lend Lease's first-half net profit has dipped 3.8 per cent to $217.8 milloin and the company has slashed its interim dividend to 16c, unfranked, from 20c in the previous corresponding half.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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