business press digest: June 6 2012
for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not verified
these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell yesterday
said that the push by casino operator Crown Ltd's
to seize control of rival Echo Entertainment Group
was "starting to look like a political campaign".
Mr O'Farrell also acclaimed Crown chairman James Packer,
who is attempting to have John Story removed as chairman
of Echo, as a "shrewd and successful" businessman.
Hardware big-box retailer Bunnings is being encouraged
to increase its use of e-commerce, with rival home-improvement
franchise Masters preparing to unveil Australia's
biggest online do-it-yourself store. "Online
(hardware) is a growing category. The percentage online
has gone up more than other categories such as food
and groceries, alcohol and furniture," Phil Harpur,
senior research manager at analysts Forrester Research,
said. Page 17.
Campbell Wilson, chief executive of Scoot, yesterday
said that the discount airline could lure customers
away from rivals such as Jetstar despite the current
turbulent economic conditions. "People's desire
to travel doesn't change because of the economy, particularly
leisure travel. It's just their willingness to pay
for it, and so if they can still get a good value
option, they will take it, and they will trade to
an airline like us that offers very good value,"
Mr Wilson remarked. Page 18.
Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers
Union, yesterday said it was "absolutely amazing"
that the Foreign Investment Review Board's approval
was not required for Etihad Airways to increase its
stake in local rival Virgin Australia. "Ultimately,
Etihad is a plaything of the Abu Dhabi royal family
that means it is essentially sovereign capital and
it is taking a significant stake in Australia's second
biggest airline not being subject to [the review
board's] scrutiny is ludicrous," he said. Page
THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
The Reserve Bank of Australia yesterday reduced official
interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.5 percent,
but some analysts said the decision was insufficient
to substantially boost the local economy. Belinda
Allen, senior analyst at wealth management group Colonial
First State, yesterday said that while the move would
generate "some short-term confidence" it
would be "hard to see strong gains in the market"
until there was a more substantive solution to the
European debt crisis. Page 35.
The International Energy Agency yesterday announced
that Australia's A$205.5 billion pipeline of liquefied
natural gas ventures may be held up by high costs
and various other project risks, which could cause
gas prices to surge in 2015. "These projects
are likely to face many challenges, including higher
capital costs and workforce shortages; they are expected
to come on later than announced," the agency
stated in a report. Page 35.
James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad Airways, last
night confirmed that the airline was holding discussions
with the Foreign Investment Review Board to increase
its holding in rival Virgin Australia. "Certainly,
we don't intend to become a majority investor. We're
keen to have a strong minority stake that strengthens
our partnership with Virgin Australia," Mr Hogan
said. Page 35.
Shares in Qantas Airways yesterday plunged by A26.5
cents to A$1.155 after chief executive Alan Joyce
announced that the company was scheduled to report
its first annual loss since listing on the local stockmarket
in 1995. The airline is now worth A$2.6 billion on
the market, well below the A$11 billion takeover offer
from Airlines Partners Australia that was rejected
by Qantas shareholders in 2006. Page 35.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
Analysts NAB Global Markets yesterday warned that
Qantas Airways could see its credit rating downgraded
by global agencies, after Qantas chief executive Alan
Joyce predicted annual underlying profit to decrease
by 91 percent. Mr Joyce yesterday tried to reassure
investors that Qantas "cashflow remained strong"
and that "no plans for an equity raising to bolster
capital" were underway. Page B1.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission
yesterday confirmed that there was "insufficient
evidence" to prosecute Jack W. Flader, the former
Hong Kong businessman behind the largest superannuation
theft in Australian history. Deb O'Neill, who led
a parliamentary inquiry into the matter, said that
it was "now the responsibility of the Australian
Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission
to investigate". Around A$123 million in funds
was scammed through a complicated nexus of foreign
funds. Page B3.
PPB Advisory, the administrators of Hastie Group,
yesterday declared that buyers had been found for
the collapsed engineering firm's mechanical services
division D&E Air Conditioning and its Cooke &
Carrick hydraulics business, preventing 408 employees
from being made redundant. Craig Crosbie, partner
at PPB Advisory, said he expected three more units
to be sold off shortly, which would save another 50
jobs. Page B3.
Warrnambool Cheese & Butter yesterday said reductions
in prices for commodity dairy products like skim milk
powder had forced the company to lower its profit
projections for the current financial year. The cheese
and butter manufacturer announced that net profit
after tax would be as much as 30 percent lower than
last year's A$18.5 million result. Paul Jensz, analyst
at researchers Austock, praised management for limiting
the earnings downgrade to the extent it did given
the market conditions. Page B4.
THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)
Bank of Queensland yesterday announced that it would
lower variable borrowing rates by 20 basis points
to 6.91 percent, after the Reserve Bank of Australia
decided to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis
points to 3.5 percent. Economists at Westpac Banking
Corporation forecast that the central bank would lower
rates later this year, with a prediction that the
cash rate would be 2.75 percent by the end of 2012.
Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) yesterday announced a six-step
program for re-entry into the local brewing sector,
which will see the beverage manufacturer compete against
global giants like SABMiller and Kirin. According
to documents filed with the Australian Securities
Exchange yesterday, CCA will initiate export an program
for its Fijian beer labels and begin creating strategic
partnerships. The company would then use international
partnerships to enter the New Zealand market. Page
Logistics group QR National yesterday announced it
would terminate over 500 jobs, mainly from its maintenance
and manufacturing departments. "We continue to
deal with a raft of legacy issues including higher
than required staffing levels, high corporate overheads
and bureaucratic structures, after more than 145 years
in government ownership," managing director Lance
Hockridge said. "Our cost base is too high when
compared to competitors and rail industry peers,"
he added. Page B4.
The Fair Work Ombudsman yesterday declared that it
was inquiring into claims from former Future Building
Material Corp employees relating to unpaid superannuation
and wages. The building materials firm was established
by John Hancock, son of the wealthiest woman in the
world, mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Jerome Naidoo,
Mr Hancock's business partner, yesterday said he "welcomed
the investigation". Page B4.
Man Australia founder and director buys Crown Limited
and Virgin Blue shares - 12th October 2009
Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is the primary
stock exchange in Australia. The ASX began as separate
state-based exchanges established as early as 1861.
Today trading is all-electronic and the exchange is
a public company, listed on the exchange itself.
Australian Securities Exchange as it is now known
resulted from the merger of the Australian Stock Exchange
and the Sydney Futures Exchange in December 2006.
biggest stocks traded on the ASX, in terms of their
market capitalization, include BHP Billiton, Commonwealth
Bank of Australia, Telstra Corporation, Rio Tinto,
National Australia Bank and Australia and New Zealand
Banking Group. As at 31-Dec-2006 the three largest
sectors by market cap were financial services (34%),
commodities (20%) and listed property trusts (10%).
major market index is the S&P/ASX 200, an index
made up of the top 200 shares in the ASX. This supplanted
the previously significant All Ordinaries index, which
still runs parallel to the S&P ASX 200. Both are
commonly quoted together. Other indices for the bigger
stocks are the S&P/ASX 100 and S&P/ASX 50.
ASX is a public company, and its own shares are traded
on the ASX. However, the corporation's charter restricts
maximum individual holdings to a small fraction of
the ASX regulates other listed companies listed on
the ASX, it cannot regulate itself, and is regulated
by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
current managing director Robert Elstone was appointed
in July 2006. Prior to the merger of ASX with the
Sydney Futures Exchange (SFE), Robert Elstone was
the CEO of the SFE. (Credit:
Small Scale Offerings Board Limited
Man Australia does not represent Australian Securities
Man Australia owns shares in
Limited, Virgin Blue and Telstra