Personal finances, Banking & Investing - Your money

Press digest australian business news march 13


´╗┐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)The failure of Richard Chandler Corporation to invest A$150 million into timber firm Gunns has been placed at the foot of the company's largest shareholders, who reportedly declined to sell off a major portion of the group cheaply. Greg L'Estrange, chief executive of Gunns, said he was "disappointed" about Richard Chandler's decision to no longer invest in Gunns, admitting that shareholders were "being significantly diluted in this process so it was not a slam dunk". Page 17.-- Governance experts yesterday said David Gonski, chairman of Investec Australia, Coca-Cola Amatil and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), should resign from some of his board roles if he is elected as the next chairman of the Federal Government's A$73 billion Future Fund. Mr Gonski is one of the most prominent businessman in the country, but observers believe he will quit his role at the ASX should he be appointed to the sovereign wealth fund. Page 17.-- Ken MacKenzie, chief executive of flexible grocery and food packaging maker Amcor, yesterday said grocery and food retailers and manufacturers should be allowed to pass on higher costs driven by the carbon tax to consumers. "If we're not passing the impact of the carbon tax through to our customers and if the customers aren't passing it onto the retailers and the retailers aren't passing it onto consumers, then how does the consumer even get a price signal from higher-emitting carbon industries?" Mr MacKenzie asked. Page 19.-- The chief executive of paper manufacturer PaperlinX , Toby Marchant, yesterday said the company's decision to sell its Italian business Polyedra for A$55.9 million was not designed to boost the image of the board ahead of a shareholder vote later this month on chairman Harry Boon's position. "This deal is not connected to the [upcoming meeting] at all  it is a substantial sale in its own right, it does reduce debt and give us the bulk of the funds required for the restructuring," Mr Marchant said. Page 19.-- THE AUSTRALIAN (this site)Mining magnate Gina Rinehart this week will attempt to head off rumours that her Hancock Prospecting's A$7 billion Roy Hill iron ore project has been delayed in the aftermath of an acrimonious family lawsuit. The company is tipped to announce that Korean steel manufacturer Posco has injected A$1.5 billion into the venture, a deal that will see its ownership of the mine increase to 15 percent from 3.75 percent. Page 21.

-- South Korean telecommunications giant SK Telecoms is set to acquire up to 40 percent of local miner Cockatoo Coal in a deal that will also provide Cockatoo with a new debt facility. "This will ensure that Cockatoo is well-positioned to secure capacity for rail and port infrastructure for its Surat Basin assets and will provide capital to support the expansion of Baralaba and Cockatoo's broader portfolio of exploration and development assets," the miner said. Page 21.-- Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiaries Note Printing Australia and Securency International will not be investigated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for allegations of bribery, the corporate regulator confirmed yesterday. "ASIC has reviewed this material from the [Australian Federal Police] for possible directors' duty breaches of the Corporations Act and has decided not to proceed to a formal investigation," the regulator said in a statement. Page 21.-- Shares in grain handler GrainCorp reached their highest point since the global financial crisis yesterday after it was revealed that United States agricultural conglomerate Cargill was interested in acquiring Canadian peer Viterra . Tim Mitchell, analyst at diversified financial firm Citigroup, said "the attraction of GrainCorp as a takeover candidate should be enhanced by the bid for Viterra". Page 21.--

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (this site)The release of international e-mails from travel agency Flight Centre has revealed that the business was urging major airlines to reduce the amount of bargain airfares available on their websites. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is claiming in the Federal Court of Brisbane that Flight Centre attempted to collude with Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines between 2005 and 2009 to illegally set airfares. Page B1.-- The executive chairman and co-founder of snowboard, skate and surf wear retailer Quiksilver, Robert McKnight, yesterday told analysts in the United States that the company's Australian and New Zealand divisions were still battling tough conditions. "Australia's economic recession created a highly promotional selling environment  In addition, a cooler-than-normal beginning to the summer season there has only compounded matters," Mr McKnight said. Page B1.-- An employee of Hanlong Mining, the Australian division of Chinese conglomerate Sichuan Hanlong, is demanding the company issue an apology and explanation to him after he was wrongly embroiled in an investigation by the corporate regulator into alleged insider trading at the firm. Fan Zhang is an accountant at Hanlong Mining and was responsible for opening a Commonwealth Bank of Australia trading account which went on to generate almost A$1.3 million in profit. "I may be the most miserable manager in mining investment  you ever met," Mr Zhang said. Page B2.

-- Internal briefing documents from Federal Treasury have revealed that officials at the department believed it was "highly uncertain" that Europe would remain a combined currency union and that the region's heads of state were "consistently behind the curve" in responding to the debt crisis. "Policymakers have been slow to respond to developments; with efforts to contain the crisis consistently falling short of expectations," the memo says. Page B3.-- THE AGE (this site)Federal independent senator Nick Xenophon is formulating a bill that would provide fund members more details about their superannuation, including more information about the remuneration of fund managers. "The transparency framework for super funds hasn't caught up with their exponential growth or their critical importance to the savings of millions of Australians," the Senator said. Page B3.-- The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority yesterday said there needed to be greater ties between risk management and the remuneration of executive pay at some of the country's largest banks. "Our concern is to make sure that the remuneration practices adopted by regulated financial institutions are sound and do not embed 'risk time bombs' in the balance sheet which could undermine future viability," David Lewis, general manager of the banking regulator, said. Page B3.-- The National Rugby League, Australian Football League and Telstra will resume their court battle against Optus today in a bid to overturn a decision by Justice Steven Rares to allow the latter to sell TV Now, a product that allows users to record and playback free-to-air television on laptops, tablet devices and smartphones. The football codes say TV Now's 90-second delay violates their exclusive online broadcast rights agreement with Telstra. Page B4.-- The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 15.3 points to close at 4196.7 points yesterday after investors remained wary about China's largest trade deficit since 1989 and the prospect that the Asian economy could begin cutting interest rates. "People don't know which way to look at it  in the longer term it does raise concerns about China's overall growth rate," David Liu, head of research at boutique equities manager ATI Asset Management, said. Page B8.

Saving advice for big spenders


´╗┐First myth of personal finance journalism: That financial experts are great with money and always have been. Not so. Take Lauren Greutman, a popular financial blogger (this site) whose new book "The Recovering Spender" recounts her journey from financial train wreck to someone who dispenses money advice on programs like The Today Show and The Dr. Oz Show. Greutman sat down with Reuters to talk about her new book, to be released in September. Q: What is your personal money story?A: I was $40,000 in debt, mostly on credit cards, with an underwater mortgage and running a budget deficit of $1,000 a month. Q: Was it hard to put so much of your money mistakes on paper?A: People usually put the best of themselves out there; I wanted to put the worst of myself out there. That way I could engage with people who think that they could never possibly get out of their own financial mess.

Q: You say that being a spender is like being an alcoholic - always one purchase away from slipping into old habits?A: That is why I call the book the "recovering" spender, not "recovered". I did a lot of research on brain chemistry, and people with spending issues have a lack of activity in the part of the brain that tells you, 'Stop doing what you're doing!' As a result you have to learn your own boundaries, know what your weaknesses and triggers are, and trick yourself into doing the right thing. Q: Your book is not only about budget numbers and spreadsheets, but underlying issues like depression and anxiety. Why?

A: Spenders tend to feel depressed and anxious, and then feel happy when they spend, and then guilty when it is done. So it is a vicious cycle, and then they feel overwhelmed because they are stuck. Somebody has to step in and pull you out of that tornado, and that is what I want this book to do. Q: You outline a 12-step program for recovering spenders. What is it?A: Some of the steps include taking an inventory of your spending, making a list of all the people you owe debts to, confessing your spending to another person, admitting you have a problem, setting boundaries, creating a budget that works, and decluttering your life and finances.

Q: Any specific tips for spenders to actually stick to a budget, once they have created one?A: You have to give yourself a bit of wiggle room. So if you make $5,000 a month, you budget it all out, but then give yourself $20 a week to spend on whatever you want. You don't want to be too rigid, because the biggest reason people fail with budgets is that they don't give themselves any margin of error for fun. Q: Tell people about the 'fences' analogy that helped you get control of your finances?A: A budget is like a fence around your money. It is like the fenced-in backyard my kids have. It is not meant to take the fun out of everything, it is meant to keep you safe and secure. It is a boundary, so at the end of the day you know your money is in the right place. Within that fence, you can be stress-free and have fun. Q: What is the best way for spenders to change their perception of money?A: Make money a reflection of your value system. Maybe you want to spend money on a new purse, for instance. So weigh that desire against the consequences. Maybe you will be late on your mortgage payment, or not be able to buy school supplies for your kid. Those values are obviously more important, so you can't buy the purse. Spenders see what they want right now, but they don't always think about all the things they are giving up.

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