Press digest australian business news july 6

← Homepage

Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (this site)Jan du Plessis, chairman of diversified miner Rio Tinto , yesterday criticised excessive executive wage levels seen across all sectors of industry over the last 20 years."Unfortunately too many businesses sometimes appear to have lost all touch with reality and for too long boards and remuneration committees of public companies have been all too prepared to support remuneration levels that were not necessarily demanded by the marketplace," Mr du Plessis said. Page 19.-- Graham Turner, managing director of travel agency Flight Centre, yesterday said that market uncertainty could have an effect on current trading volumes despite the company's positive performance for the 2011/12 financial year."I think we've had a couple of good years in Australia, particularly around leisure. So my feeling is, and I hope I'm wrong  but my feeling is it is probably going to be a bit tougher this next year than it was this year," he said. Page 21.-- Australian gas and electricity retailer AGL Energy yesterday announced it was seeking regulatory approvals for a A$100 million increase of its coal seam gas enterprise in Camden, south of Sydney. Observers estimate the proposed expansion will see output from the Camden gas wells extend for another 15 to 20 years, increasing AGL's share of the New South Wales gas market to 10 percent. Page 23.-- Australia's largest steel producer BlueScope Steel yesterday announced it will challenge a ruling by the Australian Taxation Office demanding up to A$200 million for the sale of equipment back in 2007."BlueScope will vigorously defend the assessment and pursue all necessary avenues of objection. Resolution of this matter is likely to take some time," the company said. Page 23.-- THE AUSTRALIAN (this site)International contractor Leighton Holdings yesterday announced the sacking of a senior manager for breaching corporate governance guidelines involving projects in Iraq. The manager in question was employed by Leighton subsidiary Leighton Offshore on the A$504 million Iraq Crude Oil Project, which included the construction of two offshore platforms and a 75 km oil pipeline."I'm focused on the future of this company and this is a step towards an even better future," chief executive Hamish Tyrwhitt said in relation to the dismissal. Page 19.

-- Mining magnate Gina Rinehart yesterday sold 86 million shares valued at A$50 million in media company Fairfax Limited <FXJ. AX, reducing her stake to under 15 percent, in a move observers say will increase her chances of acquiring at least two seats on the company's board."The issues remain editorial independence, Mrs Rinehart seeking effective control and her refusal to accept the board's governance principles," a senior Fairfax source was quoted as saying. Page 19.-- Australian retail sales data for May has revealed a rise of 0.5 percent in comparison to the previous month with department stores leading the recovery, observers noted yesterday. "There's no doubt that things feel a bit better, with May and June being OK for sales, but we've experienced good periods in the past and it hasn't always held," said Terry Smart chief executive of electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi Page 19.-- George Jones, chairman of independent Australian iron ore company Gindalbie Metals Limited, yesterday said he has the backing of the federal and West Australian governments to revitalise the A$5.9 billion Oakajee Port project in the Mid-West region of Western Australia."I don't believe the present model will work," Mr Jones said in assessment of the current situation. Page 20.--

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (this site)Emirates Airlines yesterday announced an increase in the number of flights to Australia with Perth seeing a 50 percent increase by early 2013 and the addition of Adelaide as the carrier's fifth Australian destination port by November of this year."Strategically it is a very important market for Emirates. is now Emirates' second or third revenue-producing country," said Emirates head of operations for Australia Barry Brown. Page B3.-- The Supreme Court of Western Australia yesterday granted a permit to Woodside Petroleum to start drilling at its James Price Point site in Western Australia. The court rejected an appeal by a man from the local Goolarabooloo tribe which opposed the assessment surveys, deeming the site appropriate for the petroleum producer's A$35 billion Browse gas hub project. Page B3.-- The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday revealed Australia's trade deficit for May had surged to A$285 million, on the back of higher spending on capital equipment imports by Australian businesses, but was lower than analysts expected."The strength in capital investment at favourable prices has been great news for businesses," said Savanth Sebastian, economist at stockbroker CommSec. Page B3.

-- Virgin Australia yesterday announced it was ordering 23 new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft, estimated at around A$2.2 billion, while at the same time delaying the delivery of an unknown number of 737 next-generation aeroplanes from the American manufacturer. The MAX-8 models are expected to join the fleet between 2019 and 2021 with the deferment of the 737 next-generation planes planned for after 2016. Page B3.-- THE AGE (this site)Former Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett yesterday said he was backing out of a plan to join the executive board of gambling operator Echo Entertainment Group as a result of his commitments to depression support group beyondblue."Because so much of me is beyondblue, if it has to come to a choice between such an offer and beyondblue, beyondblue has and will always win," said Mr Kennett. Page B4.\-- Mining mogul Gina Rinehart yesterday stressed that despite all the recent criticisms relating to the employment of foreign workers at her Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia's Pilbara region, the enterprise was above the industry average for awarding contracts to Australian firms."More than $1.3 billion has already been spent on the project, of which more than 83 percent has gone to West Australian or Australian companies," Ms Rinehart wrote in the July edition of Australian Resources and Investment magazine. Page B5.-- A global report released yesterday by telecommunications analyst service Juniper Research has predicted an increase of 300 percent on mobile advertising by 2017."Creating immersive and entertaining experiences to attract the attention of the consumer is essential for marketers wanting to take advantage of the massive increase in app usage," said Charlotte Miller, author of the survey. Page B6.-- A report commissioned by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) regulator released yesterday, has identified that most people in Australia find the watchdog out of touch with community perceptions in regards to offensive and inappropriate advertisements on television."The community seems to be less conservative than the board regarding issues relating to health and safety, violence and discrimination," said ASB chief executive Fiona Jolly. Page B6.--