Top Stories

  • New Manus, Nauru operator plots exit AAP - 2 hours 0 minutes ago

    The Spanish company taking control of the business operating the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres has signalled it plans to step away from the offshore processing facilities in the future. Ferrovial Services, which now owns more than 50 per cent of ASX-listed Broadspectrum, formerly Transfield, says it does not plan to stay in the business of operating offshore detention centres. "In relation to the provision of services at the regional processing centres in Nauru and Manus province, these services were not a core part of the valuation and the acquisition rationale of the offer, and it is not a strategic activity in Ferrovial's portfolio," the company said in a statement.

  • Local bidder hopeful in Kidman land battle AAP - 2 hours 35 minutes ago

    An Australian bidder for the S Kidman and Co cattle stations says it has a good chance of success despite a cashed-up Chinese bidder still potentially being in the race for the vast land holdings. Treasurer Scott Morrison rejected the $371 million bid from Dakang Australia Holdings for the Kidman portfolio - Australia's largest private holding - on Friday, saying the deal may not be in the national interest. Arthur Naoumidis, chief executive of DomaCom, which has mounted a crowdfunded bid to buy the Kidman properties said the local group now has an excellent chance of buying Kidman after receiving more than $72 million in pledges from 5000 investors who want to keep Kidman in Australian hands.

  • Middle class may be in for tax cuts AAP - 3 hours ago

    Millions of middle class Australians may be set to receive a tax cut the day before the federal election. The tax cuts will be announced in the federal budget due to be handed down on Tuesday, The Australian has reported. Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he would like to see tax cuts put in place quickly if they are announced.

  • Australia still open for business: Joyce AAP - 4 hours ago

    The decision to block the sale of one of Australia's largest farms to a foreign consortium doesn't mean Australia is closed for business, the deputy prime minister has argued. Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce defended the decision in response to warnings from the National Farmers Federation and Labor that it may send a signal that Australia is no longer open to foreign investment, especially from Chinese investors.

  • Fears new rules could see US cigar factory go up in smoke AFP - 11 hours ago
    Fears new rules could see US cigar factory go up in smoke

    Eric Newman eases into an armchair on the top floor of his century-old factory, lights a cigar named after his grandfather, and ponders the prospect of his family legacy going up in smoke. The 68-year-old Newman says new regulations on cigars expected any day now from the US Food and Drug Administration could snuff out his 130-year-old business, the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, by making it too costly and complicated to introduce new blends of cigars. Health experts, however, welcome the government's plan to regulate a range of tobacco products for the first time, from tiny flavored cigars that appeal to young smokers, to e-cigarettes, hookahs and full-sized cigars.

  • US growth worries cloud global stock markets AFP - 14 hours ago
    US growth worries cloud global stock markets

    Traders dumped retail US stocks Friday, with giant Walmart losing 3.0 percent, after a weak report on American consumer spending added to worries about the strength of the economy. Coming on the heels ...

  • US puts Germany, China on watch list for large trade surpluses AFP - 14 hours ago
    US puts Germany, China on watch list for large trade surpluses

    The United States named Germany, China and three other East Asian countries on Friday to a new "monitoring" list of trade partners with excessive current account and trade surpluses. Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were also on a new watchlist of the US Treasury that points out countries that Washington suspects are behaving unfairly to support their economies. The new assessment expands on the previous biannual "currency manipulator" review mandated by Congress that threatened to punish anyone found guilty of artificially holding their currencies down to boost their exports.

  • US puts Germany, China on watchlist for economic surpluses AFP - 16 hours ago
    US puts Germany, China on watchlist for economic surpluses

    The United States named Germany, China and three other East Asian countries on Friday to a new "monitoring" list of trade partners with excessive budget and trade surpluses. Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were also on a new watchlist of the US Treasury that points out countries that Washington suspects are behaving unfairly to support their economies. The new assessment replaces the previous biannual "currency manipulator" review mandated by Congress that threatened to punish anyone found guilty of artificially holding their currencies down to boost their exports.

  • Nine ditches WIN for Southern Cross AAP - 17 hours ago

    The Nine Network has severed ties with its long-standing regional partner WIN and is switching to rival broadcaster Southern Cross Austereo from July. In a major blow to WIN, owned by billionaire Bruce Gordon, Nine has signed a five year deal that will see its content shown in regional Queensland, Southern NSW and regional Victoria on channels owned by Southern Cross. The relationship between Nine and WIN, who have been affiliates since the late 1980s, has soured in recent months, culminating in this week's failed legal bid by WIN to block Nine from streaming its content via the internet into regional areas.

  • Colgate fined for dirty detergent deal AAP - 17 hours ago

    Colgate-Palmolive has been fined $18 million over an illegal deal to control the price and supply of laundry detergents. In a deal with competitor Unilever Australia, Colgate stopped selling laundry concentrate in 2009 and started selling ultra concentrate, the company has admitted after a legal battle with the consumer watchdog. At the time, Colgate produced the Cold Power, Omo and Radiant products.

  • Million people urge Bayer to stop bee-killer pesticides AFP - 17 hours ago
    Million people urge Bayer to stop bee-killer pesticides

    German agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer was presented Friday with a petition of more than one million signatures urging it to stop manufacturing pesticides that are blamed for the decline in the world's bee populations. "Bee killing is not really something that a company that is looking toward the future should do," Anne Isakowitsch, an activist for Sum of Us, an environmentalist campaign group, told AFP. Hence Berlin-based Isakowitsch travelled to Bayer's annual shareholder meeting in Cologne on Friday to present the maker of agricultural chemicals with a petition of 1.4 million signatures.

  • Portugal keeps investment grade rating and access to EU help AFP - 18 hours ago
    Portugal keeps investment grade rating and access to EU help

    Portugal kept its much-needed access to EU financial help Friday after an European Central Bank-approved credit agency maintained its rating of Portuguese debt at investment grade level. Toronto-based DBRS announced it had kept Portugal's rating at "BBB" level, with a "stable" perspective. "The rating reflects Portugal's eurozone membership, favourable public debt maturity structure, and reduced vulnerabilities, following a substantial correction of the current account deficit over the past few years," it said in a statement.

  • Chinese ship set to be first through expanded Panama Canal AFP - 18 hours ago
    Chinese ship set to be first through expanded Panama Canal

    A Chinese-owned freighter will be the first vessel to pass through Panama's newly expanded canal, to be inaugurated with great pomp in June after nine years of work, officials said Friday. The Andronikos, a Marshall Islands-flagged container ship belonging to the China Cosco Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS), a Chinese state-owned group, was selected by lottery among the Panama Canal Authority's 15 largest clients. The aim is to greatly boost the annual revenue Panama collects in shipping passage fees, currently worth a billion dollars.

  • S&P keeps UK on triple-A rating, says expects no Brexit AFP - 18 hours ago
    S&P keeps UK on triple-A rating, says expects no Brexit

    Britain kept its coveted top-grade triple-A credit rating from Standard and Poor's on Friday, with the agency saying it expected the country to ultimately vote to remain in the European Union. Standard and Poor's said "our affirmation of the rating reflects our assumption that, by a small majority, the referendum will deliver a vote to remain in the EU", citing polls which show a slim majority planning to vote on June 23 to stay in the EU. It added Brexit could also dampen economic growth and curtail investment which has been critical in covering Britain's current account deficit, a key measure of whether a country is paying its way in the world.

  • Transatlantic trade talks claim progress, see deal this year AFP - 18 hours ago
    Transatlantic trade talks claim progress, see deal this year

    Negotiators on the ambitious TTIP transatlantic trade pact said they had made significant progress in New York this week and hope for a deal in 2016, despite popular opposition on both sides. Both sides said they would not be deterred by increased attacks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and did not plan to water it down despite vocal objections from politicians and the public on both sides. "The United States has no interest in a 'TTIP light' that would not fulfil the economic promise of the ambitious agreement that we're seeking," said Dan Mullaney, the US Trade Representative's front man in the talks.

  • Oil profits plunge as industry eyes a bottom AFP - 18 hours ago
    Oil profits plunge as industry eyes a bottom

    Chevron on Friday became the latest big oil company to land in the red due to low commodity prices, reporting a loss of $725 million in the quarter ending March 31. The second-biggest US oil company pledged more belt-tightening after trimming capital spending nearly 25 percent in the first quarter from the year-ago period, said Chevron chief executive John Watson. ExxonMobil, which was downgraded from the highest triple-A credit rating earlier this week, managed to stay in the black with $1.8 billion in profits.

  • MG 'comfortable' despite legal threat AAP - 18 hours ago
    MG 'comfortable' despite legal threat

    Murray Goulburn is comfortable with its actions despite the prospect of a possible shareholder class action over a big profit downgrade by Australia's biggest dairy producer. Law firm Slater and Gordon says it and litigation funder IMF Bentham are weighing legal action after Murray Goulburn this week downgraded its full-year profit guidance for the current financial year to between $39 million and $42 million. Slater and Gordon and IMF are investigating whether Murray Goulburn misled investors but Murray Goulburn says it has met its obligations.

  • Local bidder still keen for Kidman AAP - 18 hours ago
    Local bidder still keen for Kidman

    An Australian bidder says it still wants to buy the country's largest private land holding after the sale to a Chinese buyer was blocked by the treasurer on national interest grounds. Treasurer Scott Morrison rejected a $371 million bid by Dakang Australia Holdings for the vast S Kidman and Co cattle stations portfolio on Friday, saying the purchase may not be in Australia's interest. "My preliminary view of the proposal that has been put to me is contrary to the national interest," Mr Morrison said.

  • Reliance soars in plum ASX debut AAP - 18 hours ago

    Plumbing supplies business Reliance Worldwide has capped the largest market listing of 2016 with a roaring ASX debut as investors bought into the company's growth plans in North America and Europe. Morgans Brisbane client adviser Bill Chatterton, whose firm acted as co-lead managers on the float, said the result was "fabulous" for Reliance and its directors. More than 28 million shares were traded in the first five minutes of the company's market debut, and 117 million shares had swapped hands by the close of trade.

  • LG Electronics' 1Q profit soars 96 fold AAP - 18 hours ago
    LG Electronics' 1Q profit soars 96 fold

    LG Electronics Inc has reported a stunning jump in its first-quarter earnings. Operating profit jumped 66 per cent to 505 billion won even as sales declined 5 per cent to 13.4 trillion won. The big jump ...

  • Valeant files overdue financials, averts debt default AFP - 18 hours ago
    Valeant files overdue financials, averts debt default

    Embattled Canadian drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals averted a debt default on Friday by finally filing overdue financial statements, while announcing sweeping changes to its board. Valeant also named three new board nominees for election at its annual general meeting on June 14, to join five current directors appointed in the last year, as well as new chair and chief executive Joseph Papa and two longtime members. Valeant faces numerous government probes over accusations it gouged customers over the price of its prescription drugs.

  • Budget day rate cut too close to call AAP - 19 hours ago
    Budget day rate cut too close to call

    Not really, but economists expect the decision to slash rates to a record low of 1.75 per cent will be extremely close at the RBA's May board meeting on Tuesday. Ten of the 15 economists surveyed by AAP forecast rates to be held at 2.0 per cent for a thirteenth consecutive month. The RBA has consistently said continuing low inflation would allow a rate cut "should that be appropriate to lend support to demand".

  • Budget will be economic plan: Morrison AAP - 19 hours ago
    Budget will be economic plan: Morrison

    Treasurer Scott Morrison says the budget will be an economic plan that backs Australians who want to drive jobs and growth. Mr Morrison will deliver his first budget on Tuesday, days before Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seeks a double-dissolution election on July 2, the treasurer says. "But they're out making it happen every day, and the budget I will hand down next week on behalf of the Turnbull government will be all about backing them in," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

  • Nine switches regional TV partners AAP - 19 hours ago
    Nine switches regional TV partners

    The Nine Network has signed a new affiliation deal with Southern Cross Austereo in what shapes as a major shakeup of regional TV media. Nine is currently alligned with WIN in a deal that ends on June 30, ...

  • Broadspectrum shares up as it backs bid AAP - 19 hours ago
    Broadspectrum shares up as it backs bid

    Broadspectrum shares have surged more than 30 per cent after the detention centre operator recommended the $769 million takeover bid it had previously rejected. The Broadspectrum board had urged shareholders to reject a bid by Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, but had an abrupt change of heart following the Papua New Guinea government's announcement that it will shut the Manus Island unit run by the Australian firm. Broadspectrum shares closed 36.0 cents, or 32.14 per cent, higher to $1.48 on Friday, following a trading halt imposed on Thursday.