The bidding war for Australian dairy assets has taken an unexpected twist, with New Zealand-based dairy giant Fonterra launching an overnight raid on Bega shares. Overnight, Fonterra purchased 10% of Bega in an after-market share raid. Bega, in turn, is one of a number of companies bidding for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, joining Canadian food giant Saputo, Lion and Murray Goulburn. Lion, Bega and Murray Goulburn currently own 45% of WCB, which they are keen to purchase in a bid to cash in on the growing infant formula market in Asia. "The key issue is the purchase of milk off farmers; are there enough people wanting to buy their milk?" ACCC chair Rod Sims says. "Basically Fonterra, Murray Goulburn and Warrnambool buy about one-third of the milk and Bega is quite a small player in that market, so Bega [bidding for WCB] wasn't such an issue. There is a bigger issue with Murray Goulburn.” South Korea close to free trade agreement South Korea is close to agreement on a potential free trade agreement with Australia, following a visit by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop two weeks ago. According to The Australian, the key sticking point in negotiations was a clause dealing with international arbitration, which the Rudd/Gillard government was unwilling to agree to, but the current government is. “The new government is taking a different approach, so the hurdle is being removed,” Young-Moo Kim, director-general for FTA negotiation at South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, says. Murdoch says embrace innovation Rupert Murdoch has urged Australians to embrace the challenges posed by the emergence of a middle class in China through innovation, in a speech to the Lowy Institute. “While the lack of a huge domestic market presents challenges, it also means we have fewer huge industries demanding the government protections common in large industrial nations – and fatal for any society that hopes to advance in a disruptive world,” Murdoch said. “The disruptive forces in the world economy today are as relentless as they are remorseless. But once we embrace that reality, we can make sure they are rewarding.” Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.47% to 15545.75. The Aussie dollar is at US94.61 cents.
China has announced the creation of a new free-trade zone covering nearly 29 square kilometres on the eastern outskirts of Shanghai. The Chinese government says the new FTZ would open up the services sector to increased competition and would also serve as a testing site for future financial reforms, including a convertible yuan and liberalised interest rates. “It follows the trend of global economic developments and reflects a more active strategy of opening-up,” Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng told the state-run Xinhua news agency. ACCC accuses SalesForce and Origin of misleading door-to-door claims Consumer watchdog the ACCC initiated Federal Court proceedings against marketing company SalesForce and Origin Energy over its door-to-door sales practices, marking the fifth such case against an energy retailer. The ACCC alleges sales representatives harassed or coerced some customers, with some customers told there was a government requirement for them to switch their energy supplier to Origin. “The ACCC alleges that SalesForce sales representatives acting on behalf of Origin Energy made numerous false and/or misleading statements to consumers and breached the unsolicited consumer agreement (UCA) provisions of the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says. “The allegations also involve several instances of unconscionable conduct as well as instances of alleged undue harassment and/or coercion by sales representatives, which the ACCC considers to be particularly serious.” Auto component price fixing allegations The ACCC has accused a number of Japanese firms of price fixing, alleging the practice has pushed up the cost of some cars in Australia for consumers. As part of the proceedings, the ACCC accuses auto parts distributor Yazaki of pushing up the cost of wire harnesses for Toyota cars. “Wire harnesses can be anything up to 8% of the cost of a car, so this conduct has a serious impact on what people pay for a motor vehicle,” Sims says. “We also instituted proceedings this year for a number of Japanese companies in relation to ball bearings. And we are close to settlement with one or two of those companies at the moment.” Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.46% to 15258.24 and the Aussie dollar is down to US93.12 cents.
The Commonwealth Bank has announced it is on track to deliver a record $7 billion annual profit, off the back of strong growth from its retail business.
Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has defended his company’s controversial decision to adopt Windows Phone 8 over Android or an internally developed alternative.
Businesses have been put on notice after the competition watchdog warned it will be cracking down on fake product reviews and online voucher rip-offs in the new year.
A Melbourne-based skincare retailer has been hit with $100,000 in fines for engaging in resale price maintenance, prompting the competition watchdog to issue a stern warning to suppliers.
ACCC to clarify country of origin labelling but Australian Made Campaign says "deceptive" rules need to be changed3:49AM | Tuesday, 12 March
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking new steps to address misleading claims made on labels about country of origin claims but the Australian Made Campaign says the watchdog is not going far enough.
The Federal Court has ordered two businesses to pay a total penalty of $1 million for illegal door-to-door selling practices, following action by the competition watchdog.
The consumer watchdog has issued a warning about widespread unscrupulous industry practices in the door-to-door sales industry, but the industry says many of the practices raised by the ACCC have been addressed.
The competition watchdog has indicated the downward trend of carbon price complaints could continue, but insists it will continue to take a hardline approach to businesses that deliberately mislead consumers.
The top leaders of the trade union movement have discussed the prospect of Kevin Rudd returning to the leadership of the Labor Party as they prepare a battle plan against Coalition leader Tony Abbott.
The competition watchdog says it has received 630 complaints and enquiries about the carbon tax, but insists the number of complaints about small businesses has “generally been low”.
Small businesses unsure about carbon price claims can now access a dedicated hotline, designed to make it easier for consumers and business to complain if they suspect a price claim is false.
The carbon tax has been a contentious issue in the Australian business community since the Federal Government announced shortly after the last election that it will come into effect on July 1 this year.
The world’s leaders have gathered at the G20 conference in Mexico amid warnings that the world’s economy could be set for a second financial crisis.
Start-ups are set to thrive rather than flounder under a carbon tax, with new businesses having an opportunity to drive new industries, innovation and capabilities under the carbon pricing regime, according to a new report.
The competition watchdog has fined a company director $450,000 and banned him from managing a business for 15 years after he admitted to duping elderly investors into investing tens of thousands of dollars knowing they would never get the money back.
The competition watchdog says it will investigate fashion importers who are asking retail sites to inflate prices for Australian shoppers, warning suppliers could face multimillion dollar fines.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched a guide for businesses on carbon price practices, urging them to ensure their claims are accurate and can be substantiated.
Businesses that mislead consumers on price could face hefty fines, the consumer watchdog has warned, after campervan hire company Wicked Campers was fined more than $26,000.