press digest-australian business news - jan 27

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    PRESS DIGEST-Australian Business News - Jan 27
    06:49, Thursday, 27 January 2005

    (Compiled for Reuters by Media Monitors)
    THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com.au)

    The board of Coles Myer is to begin a formal review
    of its retail businesses. The major focus will be on the Myer
    department store chain and whether it has a long-term future in
    the Coles Myer stable. It is believed that if the internal
    review finds Myer does not belong in the portfolio, an investment
    bank would be brought in to provide advise on disinvestment or
    restructuring options. However, Myer corporate affairs manager,
    John Gillman, said yesterday the company did not intend to shut
    any additional stores, and the number of outlets would stay at
    61. Page 13.

    --

    Sensis, the advertising and directory division of
    telecommunications provider, Telstra Corp. has lost a
    number of senior executives to the Netherlands-based World
    Directories, a group headed by former Sensis chief executive,
    Andrew Day. Sensis has lost Chris Armistead, the general manager
    of Sensis International, Greg Ellis, general manager of strategy,
    online and search businesses; and Lyndell Johnston, general
    manager of marketing and print advertising. It is understood
    more Sensis executives are considering joining World Directories.
    Page 13.

    -- Retailer, Woolworths Ltd. will report its
    second-quarter sales today, with broker, Goldman Sachs JB Were,
    expecting sales of A$7.96 billion ($605 billion), a growth of 8.7
    percent. Chief executive, Roger Corbett, had previously said
    Woolworths' liquor business, significantly enlarged as a result
    the purchase of Australian Leisure & Hospitality, would have
    sales of A$3.5 billion in 2005, up from A$2.5 billion in the
    previous corresponding period. Page 14.

    -- Qantas Airways Ltd's Singapore-based discount
    airline, Jetstar Asia, is to fight the impact of cut-throat
    competition and the Asian tsunami by increasing its services.
    Qantas chief financial officer, Peter Gregg, said yesterday
    there was no need to lengthen the forecast for when the airline
    would make a profit. Jetstar Asia has announced it will now fly
    12 routes, despite expansion being blamed as a major contributor
    in the problems of other discount airlines. Page 35.

    --

    THE AUSTRALIAN (www.teaustralian.com.au)

    Accounting firm, KPMG, yesterday reported global revenue of
    US$13.4 billion in the year to September, a 15 percent increase
    on the previous year. There was a 10.2 percent increase in
    revenue in Australia to A$606 million ($460 millon), with the
    increase attributed to audit and risk advisory services as
    corporations prepared for the introduction of International
    Financial Reporting Standards in Australia. An increase in
    mergers, takeovers and buybacks also benefited KPMG Australia.
    Page 20.

    --

    Eight architectural consortiums have been shortlisted to
    design a new village, which will form part of businessman David
    Marriner's A$1 billion-plus ($760 illion) Laguna Whitsundays
    development in north Queensland. The development will include an
    international airport capable of handling superjumbo jets, a
    village with supermarkets, restaurants and hotels for the
    expected 400,000 annual visitors, in addition to three golf
    courses, including one designed by golfer, Greg Norman. Page 20.

    --

    The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) predicts the
    Asia-Pacific and the Middle East will face a shortage of 95,000
    licensed aircraft engineers by 2010. Australia has been
    identified as one country where there is a labour shortage, with
    the situation likely to worsen. CAPA chief consultant, Ian
    Thomas, said yesterday that steps had already been taken to
    address the shortages, but it was clear that substantially more
    needed to be done. Page 21.

    --

    Singapore International Airlines chief executive,
    Chew Choon Seng, said yesterday the Pacific route from Australia
    to the United States was 'demonstrably underserved' and that SIA
    was aware corporate customers in Australia found it hard to get
    seats, which were expensive. Mr Chew said the tourism potential
    from the Americas to Australia was not being realised. SIA is
    lobbying the Australian government to open up the route to
    greater competition. Page 21.

    --

    The West Australian (WA) Government said yesterday it
    supported a plan by Niagara Mining to buy the Windarra mine from
    WMC Resources Ltd. WA State Development Minister, Clive
    Brown, said Niagara wanted to buy the mine and bring it back into
    production. The mine has not produced nickel for 25 years, and
    was the centre of bullish claims that led to an increase in the
    shareprice of miner, Poseidon, from A$1.20 to A$280 in 1970.
    Page 21.

    --

    THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au)

    Video-on-demand company, Anytime, yesterday said 20th Century
    Fox, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros had agreed to supply it with
    movies for the Asia-Pacific region. Anytime is backed by
    Macquarie Bank and Singapore developer, YTC, with 13,000
    customers signed up through Canberra-based digital pay television
    group, Transact. There is speculation Anytime could present a
    threat to the dominant pay TV provider, Foxtel. Page 23.

    --

    Jerry Grandley, president of Canadian uranium producer,
    Cameco Corp. , yesterday said the group expected the price
    of uranium to face 'upward pressure,' lending support to claims
    by WMC Resources chief executive, Andrew Michelmore, that the
    uranium market would continue to strengthen. Mr Michelmore's
    heavy promotion of the uranium boom and its value to WMC has come
    under attack from resources company, Xstrata, which is engaged in
    a takeover battle for WMC. WMC controls Olympic Dam,
    the world's largest uranium mine. Page 23.

    --

    Newspaper groups, such as News Limited and Fairfax ,
    and radio broadcasters, have launched new strategic business
    units aimed at advertisers and marketers. News Limited
    integration director, Liz Ross, said that, while the group's
    focus was on large clients, more attention would be aimed at
    smaller advertisers. Paddy Douneen, head of the new division at
    Fairfax, said they are working on a number of briefs for
    non-traditional newspaper advertisers involving joint solutions
    between Fairfax newspapers and Fairfax Digital. Page 24.

    --

    An impasse has developed between the commercial television
    (TV) networks and the big advertisers over 2005 advertising
    rates. The impasse centres on negotiations over individual
    advertiser deals, which are struck after the major media buying
    groups agree to base-line TV price rises for the year in
    so-called 'bulk deals.' David Ovens, chief marketing officer of
    KFC and Pizza Huts' parent company, Yum Restaurants, said
    yesterday TV remained a sellers market, but if the networks do
    the right thing by their core customers "we should have a
    reasonable exchange on the way through." Page 24.

    --

    Retailer, Coles Myer, is to launch a A$500,000 ($380,000)
    media campaign in Victoria to promote its Switch2Save program,
    which rewards shoppers with discounts of up to 25 percent for
    switching brands. The campaign will see the creation of
    'shopping lists' based on surveys, with shoppers accruing points
    via their Fly Buys card if they stick to the lists. Manufacturers
    will foot the bill for the discounts. Page 24.

    --

    THE AGE (www.theage.com.au)

    Virgin Blue chief executive, Brett Godfrey,
    yesterday defended the airline, after a second profit downgrade
    in three months, by saying that Qantas Airways' had two profit
    warnings in February 2001. Virgin shares have fallen by 12
    percent since the airline told shareholders last week that its
    profits for the 12 months to March 31 would be as much as 15 per
    cent lower than expected. Mr Godfrey said the lower earnings
    were not the result of the introduction of Jetstar Airlines but
    were due to a fall in passenger demand after Virgin attempted to
    push up fares on certain routes to contain higher oil prices.
    Page 8.

    Looking for more information from local sources? Factiva.com
    has 112 Australian sources including the Australian Financial
    Review.

    ((Reuters Sydney Newsroom, 61-2 9373 1800,
    [email protected]))

    (c) Reuters Limited 2005
    REUTER NEWS SERVICE
 
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