Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not
verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com)
Oil and gas exploration company Karoon Gas (KAR.AX)
yesterday announced preliminary plans to float its South
American assets, which includes acreage near recent
multi-billion-barrel oil discoveries in Brazil and Peru.
Karoon hopes to float 30 percent of its South American
operations on the Brazilian stock exchange for up to US$700
million to help fund a drilling program next year. Page 49.
Mining company BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) yesterday revealed
details of a larger-than-expected potash resource at its Jansen
project in Canada.
BHP used the announcement to pressure the Federal
Government over its proposed resource super profits tax, with a
spokesperson saying, "Canada is a stable and supportive
investment environment and the all-in tax rate for this project
will be globally competitive." Page 50.
Beverage producer Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL.AX) yesterday
acknowledged that it is creating a dairy-based version of its
strongly performing energy drink, Mother.
However, the company released a statement stating that "any
new product in the Mother energy range will NOT be called
Mother's Milk." Last year, energy drinks were the fastest
growing category in Australia's beverage market. Page 51.
John Gillam, managing director of hardware retail group
Bunnings (BWP.AX), yesterday welcomed wholesale distributor
Metcash's acquisition of a majority stake in Bunnings rival
Mr Gillam said he expected Mitre 10 to become a more
disciplined competitor. Mr Gillam, speaking at the
Stockbrokers Association annual conference, also outlined plans
for Bunnings continued expansion, including the opening of 10
to 14 new large-format stores each year. Page 51.
THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au)
Following a spate of profit downgrades from local companies
- including Toll Holdings TOL.AX and Virgin Blue VBA.AX -
stockbroking analysts are reassessing their forecasts for
Although earnings growth forecasts among analysts for
2010-11 have centred around 25 percent, those figures are now
expected to be reduced by at least a few percentage points due
to concerns around the European debt crisis and a possible
slowdown in China. Page 25.
German construction company Bilfinger Berger (GBFG.DE) has
renamed its Australian operations Valemus, and yesterday lodged
a prospectus for the local group with hopes of raising between
A$1.22 billion and A$1.39 billion.
"Clearly, it's going to be a volatile ride in terms of
getting that IPO out the door. I think fundamentally, there's
nothing wrong with the story, it's a solid contractor," said
Fortis Investment fund manager Theo Mass. Page 25.
Private hospital operator Healthscope HSP.AX yesterday
released a statement to the market saying that United States
group Tenet Healthcare (THC.N) had withdrawn its takeover offer
The announcement leaves two private equity consortiums
competing for the target, with expectations of a sale price of
A$1.8 billion or more.
Healthscope said formal due diligence with the remaining
two bidders was progressing. Page 27.
Jeremy Phillips, the new chief executive of marketing
services company Photon Group has asked for a thorough report
on the group's books before announcing a profit downgrade and
Mr Phillips, who took on the role last week, believes
Photon needs to provide the market with accurate accounts and
forecasts in order to win back investor confidence.
Photon has undertaken two capital raisings and announced
three profit downgrades over the past two years. Page 27.
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)
Mining company Xstrata XTA.L has come under pressure to
justify its claims relating to job losses and the amount of tax
the company pays.
The miner last week claimed it had suspended A$586 million
of spending on two projects, putting 3250 jobs in Queensland at
Chief executive Peter Freyberg also said Xstrata paid over
40 percent in tax and royalties, but refused to provide details
regarding the claim, citing "company policy." Page 1.
Qantas Airways (QAN.AX) yesterday announced the sale of its
Singapore-based express mail business DPEX Worldwide to freight
and logistics group Toll Holdings.
Qantas, which purchased DPEX in May 2007 for S$40 million,
would only say that it had made a "small profit" on the sale.
The offloading of DPEX has raised speculation that Qantas may
also look to sell its stakes in local air freight businesses
Star Track Express and Australian Air Express, which have both
performed weakly since the economic downturn began. Page 3.
John Borghetti, the new chief executive of airline Virgin
Blue, yesterday said he intended to pursue joint ventures with
individual international airlines in preference to airline
marketing groups such as Star Alliance and oneworld.
Virgin Blue is currently waiting for regulatory approval
for two such alliances, with Air New Zealand and Delta Air
Analysts say another potential partner could be Singapore
Airlines. Page 3.
The New South Wales Supreme Court has ordered the state
government to produce copies of a number of documents relating
to the failed Tcard transport smartcard.
The government agency overseeing the contract is attempting
to sue the company behind the Tcard, ERG Ltd, for A$77
ERG has made a counterclaim of A$215 million over the
termination of the Tcard contract in 2008, and was yesterday
granted access to the documents. Page 4.
THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)
National Australia Bank's (NAB.AX) monthly survey of
business confidence has found that confidence fell sharply in
May as businesses reacted to market volatility, interest rate
rises and international sovereign debt fears.
NAB economist John Sharma yesterday said the retail sector
was particularly poor, with the number of retailers reporting
decreased profits in May exceeding those reporting increased
profits by a large margin. Page B2.
Analysts from investment bank Macquarie Group (MQG.AX) say
the Federal Government may agree to place Queensland's
prospective liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects under the
existing petroleum resource rent tax (PRRT), instead of the
proposed resource super profits tax.
Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson is believed to
have told financial groups last week that applying the PRRT to
the projects would "ensure consistency" of treatment of
offshore and onshore LNG projects. Page B2.
Reserve Bank of Australia board member Jillian Broadbent
yesterday said that consumer confidence was starting to be
affected by a number of issues, including the European debt
crisis and the Federal Government's proposed resource super
Ms Broadbent said that a fall in confidence in the mining
sector "does flow through to lots of parts of the economy."
The chairman of the Federal Government's review of the
superannuation system, Jeremy Cooper, yesterday predicted that
Australia's superannuation industry would be three times larger
within 26 years.
Mr Cooper said that between June 2009 and 2035, the sum
managed by the super sector would increase by A$2.1 trillion to
However, the number of major funds would dwindle from 447
to 74 over the period. Page B4. --