THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
--Jetstar, the subsidiary of Qantas Airways, is reviving plans to fly to parts of southern Europe over the next two years. Analysts report that the company has been significant in providing profits for its parent, who has been struggling with maintaining demand for its key international flights. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce advised that Jetstar was looking to fly to Athens, Rome and Milan, following the delivery of a new A330 aircraft next year. However it was not looking to compete on similar routes with Qantas, he said. Page 12.
--Australia's third biggest telecommunications company, AAPT , is looking to launch two more products onto the market that will capitalise on the popularity of its unlimited broadband plans, which do not cap usage between 2am and 8am. The company hopes to gain a larger share of the broadband market. Chief executive Paul Broad advised that the company was currently benefiting from strong growth and was signing up approximately 6000 new customers every month. Page 12.
--Pacific Brands is in the process of closing its Holeproof socks factory in Melbourne, Victoria, following similar closures of its King Gee factory at Bellambi in New South Wales where 79 jobs were lost. A Brisbane uniforms plant that traded under the Can't Ter' Em brand also had 60 jobs lost. Analysts report that so far 100 staff at the Holeproof factory have left the company with a further 60 cuts expected shortly. The closure of the factories is part of the restructuring plans of the company. Page 12.
--Macquarie Group pipeline operator DUET Group is seeking to go ahead with investments to further its network in the current year, despite concerns that high levels of debt may force the fund to face a credit downgrade. Credit Suisse analyst Sandra McCullagh advised that the fund 'may have little room to borrow without adding to its risk profile.' DUET revealed a net loss of A$62.3 million compared to a A$51.3 million net profit a year earlier, following a write down of the value of interest rate and foreign exchange derivatives. Page 14.
THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
--Mining companies are facing increasing problems in obtaining capital as a recovery in the resources sector becomes imminent. Ernst & Young's yearly analysis of the mining sector has discovered that the global financial crisis has produced new risks that threaten the survival of many mining companies. Ernst & Young global mining and metals leader Mike Elliot advised that 2009 was 'all about funding and cash flow,' with access to capital emerging as the new significant threat to the sector.
--Fortescue Metals Group and iron ore miner BC Iron are expected to make their joint venture for the junior's Nullagine project in Western Australia official today.
The execution of documents is ahead of schedule, due to the companies' desire to fast track the mine. BC Iron shares are in a trading halt until the heads of agreement is finalised with Fortescue. Following an agreement in June, BC Iron reported that Fortescue had given the company approval to work on the Nullagine project. Page 20.
--Two of Australia's largest retailers Wesfarmers and JB Hi-Fi called for the government not to provide any further cash handouts, given the positive economic outlook and increasing confidence of consumers. Analysts report that this is due mainly to low interest rates and steady employment.
The government has so far spent approximately A$43 billion in two sets of stimulus packages, which included cash payments to consumers and commitments to infrastructure over the following two years. Pg 19.
--AGL Energy yesterday advised that it would develop up to A$7 billion worth of renewable energy projects over the next 10 years. Analysts report that under the new renewable energy target legislation, 20 per cent of electricity must be generated from renewable energy resources by 2020. Chief executive of AGL Energy Michael Fraser advised the ABC's Inside Business program yesterday that AGL 'are the largest developer of renewable assets in the country, and this really means that we are going to be able to accelerate our development program.'
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
--Toll road operator BrisConnections is aggressively pursuing payment from shareholders for the second instalment of the share price, three months after the deadline has passed. Of the 135 companies and individuals sued in June for non-payment of the A$1 per unit second instalment, only 64 remain outstanding. At least half a dozen of these investors have provided hope that a de facto class action may be introduced which aims to block demands for payment from BrisConnections. Page 19.
--The Los Angeles Times confirmed that media giant News Corp is holding discussions with newspaper publishers of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times on creating a consortium that would charge fees for news online and on portable devices. This follows a report that newspapers across the United States are dealing with a steep decline in print advertising revenue, a steady decrease in circulation and the migration of readers to free online news. Page 21.
--The price-fixing case against blood plasma company CSL and its major competitor Baxter International has increased. A second complainant it the US has begun court action against the two companies alleging cartel activities in the provision of key lifesaving therapies. Solaris Health System, a New Jersey company that operates out of the JFK Medical Centre, has lodged documents with a Pennsylvania court. This follows a class action against CSL last month, alleging conspiracy to fix the prices of plasma products. Page 21.
THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)
--The Australian Investment and Securities Commission (ASIC) may move soon to close a legal loophole that is a potential risk for investors of trading instruments such as contract for difference (CFD) products. ASIC is concerned that current rules 'allow brokers to pool client funds to hedge other clients' trades.' The potential is that despite investors making sound decisions, they may not be aware that if enough clients in the same pool make the wrong decision millions of dollars could be lost. CFD brokers deny that clients' funds are at risk. B 1.
--The joint venture between soft drink bottler Coca-Cola Amatil and brewing giant SAB Miller has paid dividends for the Australian subsidiary. The venture, Pacific Beverages has posted more than 50 percent growth in the first six months, compared to Coca-Cola's business with only grew by 2.6 percent for the same period. Pacific Beverages product range, Peroni, Miller Chill and Bluetongue have been a hit with consumers, as beers tastes are becoming 'less loyal,' to one a single brand. B 1.
--Utility company Melbourne Water will add two powers generators to its Western Treatment Plant in Werribe to generate almost all the power needs for its facility. The generators will cost A$4 million each, and by mid next year the plant will produce close to 95 percent of its yearly electricity needs.
Paul Pretto, spokesperson for Melbourne Water said renewable energy used at the plant would increase to 72 giga-watt hours a year reducing 'greenhouse gas emissions by a further 24,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide' annually. B 3.
--A report out today by consultancy group Mercer calls for a rise in Australia's age pension to prevent pensioners outliving their superannuation savings. Mercer states that there is a need for 'substantial changes' to the superannuation industry, so retirees do not become reliant on the age pension once the superannuation savings diminish. In its report, Mercer has called for changes to the age pension, more control of self-managed superannuation funds and reintroducing annuity pensions. B 3. --
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