The Border Watch : November 26th 2013
BUSINESS Majority of Aussies against GrainCorp sale IN BRIEF BRISBANE: A majority of Australians want the federal government to block an American food giant from buying GrainCorp. Some 51.2 per cent of respondents to a GPS-Melbourne Institute poll say Treasurer Joe Hockey should stop Archer Daniels Midland’s from acquiring all of Australia’s biggest grains handler. Just 18.9 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of allowing the takeover, with 30 per cent undecided. The poll of 1000 people comes as the Nationals in the coalition government urge Mr Hockey to oppose the ADM takeover when he makes a decision, due on December 17. A volatile month on the Australian share market has also made investors nervous, with the institute’s quarterly shareholder confidence reading falling by 1 per cent in November to 107.7 index points, down from 108.8 points in August. “The index is indicating underlying concerns with share market activity,” the Melbourne Institute said in a statement. “The confidence index is flat and shareholders are signalling a contraction in buying intentions and an expansion in selling intentions.” AAP Male CEOs campaign for equality on boards BRISBANE: A group of Queensland based chief executives have joined a campaign for gender diversity in boardrooms – and they’re all men. Lance Hockridge, the head of freight rail group Aurizon, is among the company chief executives who have joined a Male Champions of Change campaign. Aurizon’s 10-member board includes two women, and Mr Hockridge says gender diverse boards operate more effectively. “Difference creates new ideas, new insights and new approaches – unlocking value,” he said yesterday. “The value to the business is the value created through the complementary contributions both males and females can make.” Super Retail Group, which has one woman on its six member board, is also joining the campaign. CEO Peter Birtles, whose company owns SuperCheap Auto and Rebel Sport, promised to “make a demonstrable commitment to diversity both within and outside my organisation”. Bank of Queensland, which has two women on its eight member board, says it has increased the proportion of senior female managers from 11 per cent to 22 per cent in just a year. “We still have more work to do,” CEO Stuart Grimshaw said. AAP Healthy crop: The Abbott government is considering whether to approve a $3.4 billion takeover of Australia’s biggest grains handler GrainCorp by US grain giant Archer Daniels Midland. Picture: AAP Saputo sweetens Warrnambool bid Canadian dairy giant boosts takeover offer for WCB MELBOURNE: Shareholders in takeover target Warrnambool Cheese and Butter could get $9.20 for each of their shares if Canadian dairy giant Saputo can attain a stake in Warrnambool of more than 50 per cent. At $9.20, WCB would be valued at about $515 million. Saputo, one of three suitors for WCB, is currently offering $9 a WCB share and declared the offer unconditional yesterday. The offer closes on December 13. WCB shareholders who accept Saputo’s offer now will receive $9 a share but will still get the extra 20c later if the 50 per cent threshold is reached. “We have a very, very compelling offer beyond just the price itself, beyond the fact that it is unconditional, beyond the fact that it could be closed by December 13 and payment will be received within five days,” Saputo boss Lino Saputo Jr said. According to Saputo’s second supplementary bidder’s statement, released to the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday, Saputo has received acceptances for its offer totalling 0.783 per cent of WCB shares. Saputo said its decision to declare Foxtel boss wants fewer media rules SYDNEY: Foxtel boss Richard Freudenstein has called on the federal government to allow it to compete for the rights to more major sporting events, saying current rules give an unfair advantage to free to air networks. Mr Freudenstein said current anti-siphoning regulations, which ensure major sporting events are broadcast on free to air television, had hurt competition in the TV industry. Events currently included 8 - The Border Watch, Tuesday, November 26, 2013 on the anti-siphoning list include the Olympics, the Australian Open tennis, NRL and AFL games and cricket test matches played in Australia. He said allowing Foxtel to compete for the rights to major sporting events would ensure more money for sporting codes. Mr Freudenstein said while it would be “politically difficult” for the government to completely remove antisiphoning rules, the number of events included on the list should be reduced. its offer of $9 a WCB share unconditional and its intention to lift the offer price if the 50 per cent threshold is reached would enable WCB shareholders to benefit from Saputo’s unconditional offer without delay. The WCB board, which has already backed the Saputo offer of $9 a WCB share, yesterday agreed to the conditional increase. WCB also revoked its intention to declare a special dividend of 46c a share and an additional dividend of 85c a share, which had been subject to Saputo achieving an interest of 50 per cent and 90 per cent respectively. If WCB had paid the dividends, they would have been deducted from the $9 that Saputo was offering. WCB shares were 18c higher at $9.23 yesterday. The two others bidders for WCB are dairy cooperative Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese. Murray Goulburn has offered $9 a WCB share but its offer requires authorisation from the Australian Competition Tribunal on the grounds that a takeover of WCB by Murray Goulburn would be of national benefit. Bega has offered 1.5 Bega shares and $2 in cash a WCB share. AAP Small business sees economy growing BRISBANE: A majority of Australian small businesses believe the economy will grow in the year ahead but this isn’t making them more confident about their own operations. For the first time in three AAP years, more businesses are upbeat about the local economy, a survey by accounting firm CPA Australia has found. Some 58 per cent of businesses surveyed predicted the economy would grow in 2014, up from 38 per cent in 2013 and 35 per cent in 2012. But this isn’t translating into improved confidence about their own business, with 56 per cent forecasting growth next year, down from 60 per cent in 2013. The percentage of businesses that expected to shrink or close in 2014 rose to 18 per cent, up from 15 per cent in 2013. The election of a majority government is bringing some optimism, with 29 per cent nominating political stability as a positive change. AAP GVK Hancock agrees on rail with Aurizon PERTH: Rail freight company Aurizon and Gina Rinehart’s part-owned Queensland coal company have agreed on a rail solution to develop the Galilee Basin as part of a $6 billion plan. The rail and port development aims to unlock the Galilee Basin coal reserves and help support the next phase of coal growth in the Bowen Basin. Aurizon and Mrs Rinehart’s joint-venture company, GVK Hancock, plan to develop and manage a port and rail project with the capacity to ship 60 million tonnes per annum. Under the newly agreed proposed rail solution, 300km of track will be constructed before connecting into existing Aurizon infrastructure. Aurizon shares gained 5c to $4.74. Telstra pit work under scrutiny SYDNEY: The workers’ compo body Comcare now oversees work at virtually every Telstra pit after the asbestos scare six months ago, a company executive says. Telstra’s chief risk officer Kate Hughes says scrutiny of the company’s contractors has dramatically increased since May, when the telco giant was forced to halt national broadband network remediation work on its pits because asbestos had not been handled properly at some sites. BHP to replace two shiploaders PERTH: BHP Billiton will replace two shiploaders at Port Hedland at a cost of more than $300 million. The global miner said the $329 million Nelson Point investment would increase the reliability of the company’s inner harbour port facilities. Each shiploader has a loading capacity of 12,500 tonnes an hour compared to the existing 40-year-old shiploaders which load iron ore at a rate of 10,000 tonnes an hour. Thorn Group CEO Hughes to retire SYDNEY: The chief executive of the company that owns Radio Rentals will retire at the end of May 2014 for family health reasons. John Hughes has been the CEO of Thorn Group, which also owns other financial services businesses, for the past seven years. “Whilst there are still a lot of opportunities to be fully realised I need to place my family as my first priority,” he said. The company’s board will consider internal and external candidates in its search for a replacement.
November 22nd 2013
November 27th 2013