Industrial Goods

  • Premier accused of using the forest peace deal's achievements to sell wood in Japan ABC - Wed, Apr 16, 2014 2:51 PM AEST
    Premier accused of using the forest peace deal's achievements to sell wood in Japan

    The Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman, has put environmental groups further offside by promoting their support for the timber industry to attract Japanese buyers. Mr Hodgman has declared his week-long trade trip through China and Japan a successful exercise in building relationships with potential investors. "We have made very important contact with key executives in China, in Japan and there were also senior executives from Australia who participated in this very rare experience and that was this delegation that consisted not only of the Prime Minister but all the state premiers," he said. Mr Hodgman says he told Japanese buyers that Tasmania's timber industry would continue to be supplied only from forests considered by environmental lobby groups and the Greens to be "non-contentious."

  • Holcim, Lafarge create global concrete giant AFP - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 4:54 PM AEST
    Holcim, Lafarge create global concrete giant

    Swiss cement group Holcim and French rival Lafarge are merging to create the world's biggest concrete group worth 40 billion euros, with an eye to booming construction in emerging markets, they said on Monday. The deal, a major event in the global construction industry described in a joint statement as "a merger of equals", will be based on the offer of one Holcim share for one Lafarge share. The two groups together have a stock market value of 40 billion euros ($55 billion), Holcim chairman Rolf Soiron told a press conference. Lafarge assured that the deal would not lead directly to plant closures, with a French minister warning the government would scrutinise the merger's impact on investment and jobs.

  • Holcim, Lafarge announce merger into global cement giant AFP - Mon, Apr 7, 2014 8:27 AM AEST
    Holcim, Lafarge announce merger into global cement giant

    Swiss cement group Holcim and French rival Lafarge are to merge creating a dominant supplier of cement for concrete to the global construction industry. The deal, described in a statement on Monday as "a merger of equals", and a major event in the global construction industry, will be based on the offer of one Holcim share for one Lafarge share. On the Swiss stock market, the price of Holcim shares jumped 5.24 percent to 84.40 Swiss francs in initial trading and in Paris, Lafarge shares were up 4.57 percent to 67.02 euros.

  • 'Holcim, Lafarge boards okay merger to create world's top cement firm' AFP - Sun, Apr 6, 2014 12:02 AM AEDT
    'Holcim, Lafarge boards okay merger to create world's top cement firm'

    The boards of Switzerland's Holcim and French rival Lafarge have agreed to the merger of their companies to create the world's largest cement maker, Le Figaro newspaper reported Sunday. The paper said the Holcim board met early Saturday and that of Lafarge late in the day, but did not give a source. "Holcim and Lafarge believe that... there is rationale in considering a potential merger that could deliver significant benefits to customers, employees and shareholders," they said in separate but near-identical statements. The new group's headquarters will be in Switzerland, with company sites both in France and Switzerland.

  • Holcim, Lafarge in talks to create world's top cement firm AFP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 5:52 PM AEDT
    Holcim, Lafarge in talks to create world's top cement firm

    Switzerland's Holcim and French rival Lafarge confirmed Friday that there are holding talks to merge and create the world's largest cement company. "Holcim and Lafarge believe that... there is rationale in considering a potential merger that could deliver significant benefits to customers, employees and shareholders," the two companies said in separate but near-identical statements. On its website, Lafarge describes itself as the global number one for cement, number two for aggregates and number four for concrete. According to a 2013 ranking by specialised trade magazine Global Cement, which assesses overall output capacity based on a broad range of factors, China's Anhui Conch had an annual output capacity of 217 million tonnes, followed by Lafarge with 205 million tonnes and Holcim with 174 million tonnes.

  • Holcim in merger talks with Lafarge AFP - Fri, Apr 4, 2014 4:11 PM AEDT
    Holcim in merger talks with Lafarge

    Swiss cement group Holcim announced on Friday that it is in merger talks with building supplies giant Lafarge. Shares in the Swiss company surged by over 4 percent and Lafarge stock climbed by 6 percent ...

  • China's Xi in Germany for talks on trade, Crimea AFP - Fri, Mar 28, 2014 4:20 PM AEDT
    China's Xi in Germany for talks on trade, Crimea

    Chinese President Xi Jinping began a landmark visit to fellow export powerhouse Germany Friday for the third leg of his European tour, which is expected to cement flourishing trade ties and focus on the Crimea crisis. Under grey skies, Xi, accompanied by his singer wife Peng Liyuan, was greeted with military honours by his counterpart Joachim Gauck, a former East German rights activist, in the grounds of the presidential palace. Xi is due to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel during his first visit to Europe's top economy since taking office a year ago, and which comes the week before Berlin hosts a major exhibition by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Germany is China's biggest EU trading partner, while the Asian giant is a massive market for German machines, technology and cars.

  • Building approvals show low rates boosting residential construction ABC - Tue, Mar 4, 2014 1:56 PM AEDT
    Building approvals show low rates boosting residential construction

    Economists expect residential construction to boost economic growth this year after the number of new homes approved for construction jumped. It is set to be a good year for Australia's home builders according to Bureau of Statistics figures which show new building approvals jumped by nearly 7 per cent in January, seasonally adjusted. Approvals for detached houses led the way in January, rising 8.3 per cent, with other dwellings such as apartments and town houses up 4.6 per cent. Over the past year, apartments and other multi-unit dwellings rose 46.3 per cent, while detached houses recorded a 26.4 per cent increase.

  • German machine-tool orders up in January AFP - Tue, Mar 4, 2014 12:19 PM AEDT
    German machine-tool orders up in January

    Rising domestic and export demand gave Germany's key mechanical engineering sector a boost in January, the VDMA industry federation said on Tuesday. The manufacture of machine tools is an important part of Germany's industrial and export performance. In January, overall incoming orders were up by 6.0 percent compared with the same month a year earlier, VDMA said in a statement, with export orders climbing by 7.0 percent and domestic orders up by 2.0 percent. Taking a three-month comparison to iron out short-term fluctuations, overall orders were up by 2.0 percent in the period from November to December, with foreign orders expanding by 5.0 percent while domestic orders slipped by 3.0 percent, VDMA calculated.

  • China makes inroads in the Bahamas AAP - Fri, Feb 28, 2014 1:01 PM AEDT

    Cement mixers from China and construction equipment rumble next to a premier strip of white sandy beach as thousands of Chinese workers labour to complete a $US3.5 billion ($A3.89 billion) resort project at famed Cable Beach. Bahamian officials hope that the Baha Mar project - four new hotels, 18,580 square metres) of convention space, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and a casino with a 15.24-metre glass water wall and a Vegas-style show lake - will transform Bahamian tourism, putting it on the map as a world-class gaming destination. The Spanish hotel operator Melia recently took over operations of the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort at Cable Beach and is running it as a Melia hotel. Not only is the Export-Import Bank of China providing the bulk of the financing, China State Construction Engineering Corp is the general contractor.

  • WorleyParsons reviewing its business AAP - Wed, Feb 26, 2014 4:21 PM AEDT

    Engineering giant WorleyParsons will review its global business after profit fell by almost 30 per cent, fuelling speculation of more restructuring and job cuts. Chief executive Andrew Wood said the company was conducting an in depth review of its business to position the company for future earnings growth. Investors welcomed the news, sending WorleyParsons shares up $1.64, or 10.6 per cent, to $17.13. Over the past 18 months WorleyParsons experienced a significant downturn in available work in the resources hotspot of Western Australia.

  • Lafarge posts profit recovery, sees cement demand rallying AFP - Wed, Feb 19, 2014 12:06 PM AEDT
    Lafarge posts profit recovery, sees cement demand rallying

    French cement giant Lafarge on Wednesday reported a recovery of net profit last year and said that demand for its products for the construction industry was picking up. But the net figure was helped by asset sales, and underlying operating profit fell on unfavourable exchange rates. Lafarge, as a world leader in construction materials is a barometer of the health of building and civil engineering activity. Net profit amounted to 601 million euros ($827 million), boosted by asset sales.

  • Housing improvement boosts Boral profit AAP - Wed, Feb 12, 2014 5:48 PM AEDT
    Housing improvement boosts Boral profit

    Shares in building materials company Boral have shot to a three year high after a 73 per cent jump in its half year underlying profit. Improved housing and road construction markets, cost cutting measures and dry weather conditions helped the company lift its underlying net profit to $90 million in the six months to December 31. Boral recorded a net loss of $26 million for the half year, but that includes $117 million in one-off accounting charges related to its Gypsum plasterboard joint venture, due to be completed on February 28, that it says will be offset by gains in the second half. Boral shares gained 45 cents, or nine per cent, to $5.45.

  • Better housing boost Boral profit AAP - Wed, Feb 12, 2014 3:00 PM AEDT
    Better housing boost Boral profit

    Shares in Australia's largest building materials company Boral have shot up to a three-year high after a 73 per cent jump in half year profit, excluding significant items. The company lifted underlying net profit to $90 million on the back of better housing and road construction markets, cost cutting and dry weather conditions. Boral recorded a net loss of $26 million for the half, but that includes $117 million in one-off accounting charges related to its Gypsum plasterboard joint venture, due to be completed on February 28, that it says will be offset by gains in the second half. "(That) was driven by strong project activity, very dry weather conditions in NSW and Queensland, and the benefit of restructuring, and overhead cost reduction initiatives," he told reporters.

  • Plantations more valuable if they are not pulped: Greens ABC - Tue, Feb 4, 2014 9:11 PM AEDT
    Plantations more valuable if they are not pulped: Greens

    The Greens believe Tasmania's sprawling hardwood plantation estate would be worth more if the trees were not used to feed a pulp mill. They also want another review of Tasmania's 236,000 hectare hardwood plantation estate looking at alternative uses for the timber, other than feeding a proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. The call comes just weeks after former Federal Labor Minister, Martin Ferguson handed down his report into the state's plantation estate. The Greens say it lacked detail and had too much of a focus on the pulp mill.

  • Building approvals disappoint in December AAP - Mon, Feb 3, 2014 12:32 PM AEDT
    Building approvals disappoint in December

    Approvals for the construction of new homes fell in December but residential construction is still on the path to recovery. Building approvals fell 2.9 per cent in December, weaker than economists' expectations of a 0.6 per cent fall. JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said a large rise in September had seen subdued results in October, November and December but construction was still strengthening. Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Workman said interest rate cuts over the past two years are impacting on the housing sector.

  • The Global Mail, news website founded by philanthropist Graeme Wood, faces closure ABC - Thu, Jan 30, 2014 10:38 PM AEDT

    The Global Mail, which promised fearless journalism free of ads, is likely to close next month because its wealthy founder is pulling the plug. The founder of Wotif.com and philanthropist Graeme Wood has withdrawn his funding for the website after he vowed to fund it for five years. Media consultant and former broadcaster Stephen Feneley says the plug being pulled on The Global Mail is sad but that its editors struggled to understand the online medium. Mike Seccombe, a journalist at The Global Mail, says he hopes the site can continue despite the funding cut.

  • Food companies cut 6.4 trillion calories AAP - Tue, Jan 28, 2014 11:01 AM AEDT

    Some of the largest food companies have cut calories in their products by more than 6.4 trillion, according to a new study. The study sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that between 2007 and 2012 the companies reduced their products' calories by the equivalent of around 78 calories per person per day. Seventy-eight calories would be about the same as an average cookie or a medium apple, and an average daily diet is around 2,000 calories. The 2010 pledge taken by 16 companies - including General Mills Inc, Campbell Soup Co, ConAgra Foods Inc, Kraft Foods Inc, Kellogg Co, Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo Inc and Hershey Co - was to cut one trillion calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015.

  • Retail giants cement global dominance, eye Australia ABC - Tue, Jan 14, 2014 10:02 AM AEDT

    Global consultancy Deloitte says revenue at the world's 250 biggest retailers has risen despite ongoing economic weakness. The Global Powers Of Retailing report by Deloitte reveals turnover at the world's top 250 retailers rose 4.9 per cent to $US4.3 trillion ($4.75 trillion) last financial year. Deloitte partner David White says part of that growth for many of the major retailers has been driven by investing in overseas markets, including in Australia. "One of the ways in which we've seen the top retailers do that is actually expand overseas, and I think that we've all seen that in Australia with some of the big players coming through here," he told ABC News Breakfast.

  • New home sales rise 7.5 per cent AAP - Fri, Jan 10, 2014 1:37 PM AEDT
    New home sales rise 7.5 per cent

    Sales of new homes jumped to a two-and-a-half-year high, adding fuel to hopes a recovery is underway in the residential construction sector. New Home sales grew by 7.5 per cent in November, according to figures released by the Housing Industry Association on Friday. It was the fastest monthly growth rate since January 2010, HIA said. HIA chief economist Harley Dale said new home sales had been gradually improving since late 2012, which was a good sign for residential construction next year.

  • Home building spurs construction expansion AAP - Wed, Jan 8, 2014 10:00 AM AEDT
    Home building spurs construction expansion

    The long-hoped-for recovery in Australia's residential construction sector may finally be underway, with low interest rates driving the second fastest rate of expansion in new home building since 2005. Strong growth in house building has helped drive the broader construction sector to its third consecutive month of expansion in December, after several years of decline. According to Australian Industry Group (Ai) figures, there were also solid gains from the commercial construction and apartment building sub-sectors during the month. Growth across the entire sector was a little slower than in the previous two months but Ai Group public policy director Dr Peter Burn said the figures were good news after a long period of weakness.

  • Residential construction booms while mining construction falls ABC - Wed, Jan 8, 2014 9:55 AM AEDT
    Residential construction booms while mining construction falls

    However, the Australian Industry Group's December Performance of Construction Index fell 4.4 points to 50.8 - only just above the 50-point level that separates expansion from contraction. The fall was driven engineering construction, which slipped 6.4 points to 46.1 to be back in contractionary territory after two months of growth. The Ai Group's director of public policy, Peter Burn, says the decline in engineering is to be expected as the mining construction boom wanes. "In line with the easing of the mining investment boom, engineering construction was weaker in December and, with further falls in store, the time is ripe for a much more decisive focus on building new and upgrading existing transport infrastructure," he noted in the report.

  • US stocks mostly lower following Bernanke remarks AFP - Fri, Jan 3, 2014 10:50 PM AEDT
    US stocks mostly lower following Bernanke remarks

    US stocks Friday closed out a holiday-shortened week mostly lower as outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called for continued efforts to cement the economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial ...

  • US stocks open higher ahead of Bernanke speech AFP - Fri, Jan 3, 2014 10:14 PM AEDT
    US stocks open higher ahead of Bernanke speech

    US stocks Friday closed out a holiday-shortened week mostly lower as outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called for continued efforts to cement the economic recovery. At the closing bell, the ...

  • Bernanke urges more action to cement economic recovery AFP - Fri, Jan 3, 2014 9:54 PM AEDT
    Bernanke urges more action to cement economic recovery

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who steps down at the end of January, called Friday for more action to ensure the United States recovers from the economic and financial crisis. In a speech at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bernanke retraced the eight years he spent at the helm of the US central bank as it tackled the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. "Needless to say, my tenure has been eventful -- for the Federal Reserve, for the country, and for me personally," Bernanke said, according to the text of his speech. "We took extraordinary measures to meet extraordinary economic challenges," said the chairman, who will be succeeded on February 1 by his vice chair, Janet Yellen, pending her approval by the Senate.

  • Marina plans for Triabunna woodchip mill tourist development hit a snag ABC - Thu, Dec 5, 2013 6:58 AM AEDT

    The bid to turn the Triabunna woodchip mill into a major tourism attraction on Tasmania's east coast has hit a snag just days after the plans were made public. Millionaire environmentalist Graeme Wood this week unveiled his proposal to revamp the mill and export facility. The plan includes a new marina that would use the existing wharf, owned by the state-owned authority TasPorts. TasPorts' chairman Dan Norton says the authority has not been told about the plan.

  • Millionaires Graeme Wood, Jan Cameron to turn former Gunns woodchip mill into tourist attraction ABC - Mon, Dec 2, 2013 7:03 PM AEDT
    Millionaires Graeme Wood, Jan Cameron to turn former Gunns woodchip mill into tourist attraction

    Two Australian millionaires will transform a key Tasmanian woodchip mill into a major tourist attraction, in a blow to the State Government and the forestry industry.The Triabunna mill was sold to Wotif.com co-founder Graeme Wood and Kathmandu clothing brand founder Jan Cameron in 2011 for $10 million. Environmental Protection Authority approval for the site to operate lapsed in May and it has now entered a rehabilitation phase.The multi-purpose development will be known as Spring Bay Mill and will seek to boost tourism on the island, which is facing a faltering economy. I'm interested in the future, I'm interested in economic development [and] Tasmania needs it badly," Mr Wood said."I see this as the most effective way of achieving that."Mr Wood and Ms Cameron had maintained the site, formerly owned by timber giant Gunns, would be re-opened to forestry, even putting the running of the mill out to tender.

  • Lafarge disappoints with profit, holds targets, shares rise AFP - Wed, Nov 6, 2013 12:55 PM AEDT
    Lafarge disappoints with profit, holds targets, shares rise

    French cement and building materials giant Lafarge reported stable quarterly earnings below analysts' expectations on Wednesday, but stood by its targets for operating performance and reducing debt. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had broadly expected a rise of 3.8 percent to 331 million euros. At brokers Aurel BGC, analyst Eric Lemarie said that the disappointment of the figures was relative since key aspects of performance had held up and the group remained strongly committed to improving performance, by setting new medium-term targets. Group chairman Bruno Lafont said in a statement that the trend for volume sales was improving despite the adverse effect of exchange rates and that "we continued to progress in the third quarter on our strategic action plan."

  • Boral says housing demand is steady AAP - Thu, Oct 31, 2013 6:23 PM AEDT

    Building materials maker Boral says demand for its products was steady in the first few months of the financial year as housing construction picks up in NSW and Western Australia. Strengthening residential construction demand in those states had offset a modest decline in Victoria and a stagnant market in Queensland, Boral said. But the non-residential construction sector was expected to be weak as infrastructure demand for roads and highways fell in Queensland and Victoria. "We expect overall softer demand levels to continue in non-residential and infrastructure markets with no meaningful recovery in detached housing expected this financial year," Mr Kane said.

  • Japan PM heads to Turkey to push nuclear exports AFP - Mon, Oct 28, 2013 7:32 PM AEDT
    Japan PM heads to Turkey to push nuclear exports

    Japan's prime minister headed to Turkey Monday to cement nuclear contracts and push the export of more reactors as the industry tries to emerge from the shadow of the Fukushima atomic crisis. Shinzo Abe ...

  • Mike Kane, chief executive of building materials giant Boral, welcomes US debt crisis deal ABC - Sun, Oct 20, 2013 11:12 AM AEDT
    Mike Kane, chief executive of building materials giant Boral, welcomes US debt crisis deal

    Boral's chief executive Mike Kane says the building materials maker has welcomed the deal that ended the US debt ceiling crisis.The US government passed legislation ending the shutdown on Friday, just ...

  • University to use $65 million donation to further state's research capacity and attract the best ABC - Tue, Oct 15, 2013 2:14 PM AEDT
    University to use $65 million donation to further state's research capacity and attract the best

    The University of Western Australia says a multi-million-dollar donation from Perth mining magnate Andrew Forrest will help cement its reputation as a world leader in research. Mr Forrest will donate $50 ...

  • Lixil buys Grohe to create new bath fittings giant AFP - Thu, Sep 26, 2013 7:47 AM AEST
    Lixil buys Grohe to create new bath fittings giant

    German sanitary fittings maker Grohe said Thursday it is being taken over by Japanese housing and building materials company Lixil in a deal to form the world's largest player in the sector. Grohe "has ...

  • Japan's Lixil to buy Grohe in 3bn euro deal AFP - Thu, Sep 26, 2013 6:58 AM AEST
    Japan's Lixil to buy Grohe in 3bn euro deal

    German sanitary fittings maker Grohe said Thursday that Japanese housing and building materials company Lixil has agreed to take it over in a deal valuing the German group at 3.06 billion euros ($4.1 billion). ...

  • New SA uranium mine gets final approval AAP - Tue, Sep 3, 2013 2:39 PM AEST

    A new uranium mine in South Australia's north will cement the state's position as Australia's uranium capital, Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says. Four Mile mine has received final state ...