Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters
has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
Media analysts have speculated that a rival may bid for
regional pay television provider Austar after the
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Foxtel's
A$1.9 billion takeover would represent "a substantial lessening
of competition." Although Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams
said the regulator's statement was "not a decision but part of a
review process", industry analysts believe the deal would need
to be significantly altered to proceed. Page 14.
Qantas Airways subsidiary Jetstar Airways is still
well-placed to launch the first budget Japanese carrier, a joint
venture with Japan Airlines (JAL) , despite recent
moves from competitors. AirAsia of Malaysia and All
Nippon Airways last week launched a competitor in the
Japanese domestic market, AirAsia Japan. "Jetstar and JAL have
been working on this for a long time and AirAsia have just
responded to what they've heard," one source said. Page 14.
Plans for Woodside Petroleum's Sunrise development
in the Timor Sea were dealt a blow last week when Royal Dutch
Shell (RDSa.L) announced it would invest in the rival Abadi
project, headed by Indonesian firm Inpex . Work on the
West Australian oil and gas company's Sunrise project has been
halted due to a disagreement with the East Timorese government.
Analysts said Shell, a joint venture partner in Sunrise, may be
looking for other regional opportunities. Page 15.
The Australian Agricultural Company revealed on
Friday that it had signed an agreement with coal miner Xstrata
to sell the 17,000 hectare Meteor Downs cattle station
for A$21.6 million. The beef producer will use the proceeds to
pay down debt, buy a new abattoir and extend existing grazing
leases. "The major significance is it's the first property sale
of our three-year strategy," said David Farley, the firm's chief
executive. Page 15.
THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
The election of Ian Narev as Commonwealth Bank of
Australia's new chief executive last week was seen as a
sign the lender may look overseas for further growth
opportunities. "The board may view the status quo as no longer
sufficient in a low-growth domestic environment, and it may be
looking at Mr Narev to drive additional avenues of growth,"
analysts UBS said. Mr Narev was formerly head of Asian strategy
for law firm McKinsey & Co. Page 21.
Webjet will expand its service to include hotel
bookings as it looks to take advantage of a high Australian
dollar and surging appetite for overseas travel. The online
travel booking service recently signed a deal with Hotel Club
which gives it access to 70,000 hotels worldwide. "We need to
make sure we take part in what we see is a very attractive
market in which we are under-represented," Webjet's new managing
director, John Guscic, said. Page 21.
A delegation headed by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks
will visit the Middle East in October to continue talks about a
free trade agreement and promote the Australian automotive
exports. Australian-based companies, particularly Toyota
and General Motors Holden , are the main car
exporters to the Gulf States. "We want to reinforce the
reliance on our market and talk about the prospects for
expansion," Mr Bracks said. Page 21.
Market analysts are expecting a rash of downgrades when the
full-year reporting season begins today. According to a
JPMorgan poll of market watchers, 64 percent of reporting
companies could issue a surprise report, with 38 percent of
those likely to be lower than expected. "The coming profit
reporting season...risks significant profit downgrades as the
market slowly recognises the reality in Main Street," a
Macquarie Equities report said. Page 21.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
Flights between Los Angeles and New York are expected to be
cut from Qantas Airways' schedule as the airline reviews its
international routes. Despite falling revenue from its
international operations, industry sources did not believe the
cuts would be too drastic. Flights from Australia to India and
Argentina were considered vulnerable, although a Qantas
spokesperson said "no decisions have been taken about individual
routes." Page B3.
A proposal from bricks-and-mortar retailers to lower the
goods and services tax threshold from A$1000 to A$500 on
overseas purchases made online would do little to revive
flagging sales, industry figures said yesterday. Auction
website eBay and payments business PayPal said a
minority of purchases made online exceeded A$500. The Institute
of Chartered Accountants' tax counsel, Yasser El-Ansary, said
lowering the threshold "would result in very little change by
consumers." Page B3.
Documents filed with the United Nations' World Intellectual
Property Organisation reveal that BHP Billiton
sought legal action earlier this year over an online scam.
"Internet users are led to believe they have entered into
employment contracts with ," the United Nations' Dennis
Foster said. The fraudsters used the domain name "bhp-plc.com"
in what the mining giant believes was an attempt to gain
personal data from the victims. Page B4.
Supermarket giant Woolworths' A$1 billion foray
into big-box hardware retailing, Masters, will sub-let the café
space at its stores, differentiating it slightly from its main
rival Bunnings. Stores such as the Wesfarmers-owned
Bunnings and Ikea offer food at their stores as a means of
luring and retaining customers. Woolworths plans to open 150
stores nationwide within the next five years, and hopes to open
the first store this year. Page 5.
THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)
Telecommunications giant Telstra announced last
week it would increase copper wire line rental later this year
by an average of $2 per month due to "the rising cost of our own
business inputs like labour, petrol and copper." Revenue from
Telstra's fixed line service was A$5.8 billion last year, an 8
percent year-on-year decline. Under the deal with NBN Co, the
company rolling out the national broadband network, the
incumbent telco will be paid to decommission copper wire
services. Page B3.
A survey by market researchers DBM Consultants has found
that most business customers rate Australia's four major banks
equally. The survey found that 71 percent of small business
owners were satisfied with the performance of their bank, while
independents such as Bendigo Bank and Bank of
Queensland had an 82 percent satisfaction rating.
DBM's John Hinchy said customers rated regional lenders
associated with big banks the same as the major bank. Page B5.
The quarterly Business Outlook report from analysts Access
Economics has forecast growth to remain between 3.1 and 3.5
percent for the coming years, driven by mining and related
industries. However, the report said there was no need to
adjust the official interest rate, because "most of Australia's
growth engines are misfiring." Access director Chris Richardson
said mining investment would spur growth despite weakness in
other sectors. Page 5.
Next week's Diggers & Dealers event in Western Australia's
Kalgoorlie will be an opportunity for up-and-coming resources
ventures to attract investors. Rex Minerals is this
week expected to announce a resource upgrade at the South
Australian Hillside development, which already estimates 1.2
million tonnes of copper and 1.1 million ounces of gold.
Interest from stockbrokers last week prompted speculation that
Rex could be a takeover target for OZ Minerals . Page
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